Lumps  in the Low Back – Top of Hip

Do you have lumps in your low back, or across the top of you hip bone?

These are firm, movable lumps in between the skin and the muscle or in between the skin and the top of the hip bone (the iliac crest).  They are also found the “dimple” between the butt and the low back. They can range in size from very small and round to oblong and several inches long.

First let me tell you they are NOT cancer and they are not malignant.

They are also not lymph nodes (because you don’t have them there).

But if you have low back troubles, it important that your read on.

The lump is a back mouse.  I’ll give you some other names so you can do further research if you like or you wish to see a doctor about them. Other terms are: Episacral lipoma, iliac crest pain syndrome, multifidus triangle syndrome, and lumbar fascial fat herniation

They are quite common.  As a massage therapist, I have felt them on hundreds of people.For a long time, nobody I asked could tell me what they were.

It is estimated that between 10% to 25% of the population has them.

They are not in the muscle, so they are not “knots”.

They are like lipomas (fatty lumps) that a lot of people get.  But lipomas are never painful when you push on them.

However,  back mice can be painful when you push on them.  Most people who have them can live with them.  BUT….

In about 10% of the people who have them they can cause excruciating back pain, or refer pain down the leg or into the knee.

They mimic a herniated disc.  And probably the majority of doctors are not aware of this.

What they are is fat that has leaked (herniated) through a rip in the facia (membrane) and often take nerves with it.  These rips can be caused by trauma, lifting, sitting too much, or other possible causes.

Like trigger points, which are tender spots in muscles, back mice can refer pain to somewhere else on the body.  But trigger points can be massaged away with pressure.

Back mice should NOT be massaged, because that only creates more pain.  Massaging will not make them go away.

Massaging the back MUSCLES is a good idea. BUT NOT THE LUMPS.

If the back pain caused by these has only lasted a few weeks or less, the pain will likely go away by itself. Maybe it is because the nerve retracted itself or maybe the hole closed around the nerve and the nerve died.  I don’t know.

If you have chronic back pain or pain radiating down a leg, you should check to see if it is caused by a back mouse, before submitting to an MRI or other expensive procedures.

Lie face down wearing loose pants (no jeans or belts).  Have a friend feel the low back (around waist level) and on the upper part of the hip bone for lumps.  Have them push fairly hard on any lump they feel.

If pushing on a lump causes the the same pain you have been having, bingo. Then you can probably blame the back mouse.

The next step is to see a doctor or clinic (write down the earlier mentioned medical terms for reference).  The true test to see if the back mouse is causing your pain is to have it injected with anesthetic.  If that makes the pain go away, you have found the culprit.  The anesthetic wears off in a couple hours.

Just about any doctor or qualified medical person could inject the anesthetic.

Be warned that most doctors will know about regular lipomas but not these things.  So it is best to call and find out if they are familiar with them to save yourself frustration of going from doctor to doctor.

But for the actual surgery, if it were my back, I’d like someone with experience with these things, even though it is not major surgery.  Besides removing the lump, the hole in the facia needs to be mended.

If the back mouse is causing the pain what can you do about it?

I do not know of any technique to get rid of the back mice. except surgery.  

As I may have mentioned, about 90% of the people who have them are not seriously bothered by them.  

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Chiropractic may help to some extent, as would massage of the muscles – not the mice.

Drugs and pain killers do not help.

Forward stretching and twisting are not advised while you are in pain.

Ice packs may be helpful for pain.

Rub on Relief, is a natural, effective pain relief cream.

This is just about all I know about back mice.  Please Comment, but I can’t really answer questions about them.

If you have sciatic pain, check into Sciatica Treatment At Home.

Note:  more recently I posted a video about this

******* Here is a free article with medical terminology that you can print out and show to a doctor click here DO NOT GO TO A DOCTOR WITHOUT THIS.

 Note:  If you didn’t see Robbie’s comment below, here it is.  It may help you if you are looking for a doctor that can help you..

“Just thought I’d add my 2 cents for those of you looking for a doctor to remove your back mice. I went to a Plastic Surgeon and he gladly, easily and skillfully did the surgery. And affordably too since I pre-negotiated the price. He sewed up the tear (which he said was quite large) and let me see the fat blob that he had to remove. There were 2 large nerves running through it. Youch! Don’t give up. Take this article with you and go see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Mine was a hand surgeon in Park City, Utah. They’re very skilled with nerves and delicate work like this. The recovery wasn’t fun but it was way better than the pain that I lived with for 2 long from the dang mouse! Good Luck”.


Lumps in Low Back, Top of Hip — 120 Comments

  1. Barbara Kline on said:

    This find is a god send. I only wish it had come up sooner. My now 16 ur old daughter has been having hip pain for two years. Undiagnosed, unresolved, unresponsive to injections into the hip joint, injections into the groin, MRIs, X-rays, PT, any NSAID available, topical nerve crime the list goes on.
    It has been heartbreaking because she was a promising soccer player and this issue sidelined and has since retired her.
    F%^€*#g back mice! Amazing. We are headed to a physiatrist next week and I’m calling ahead to see if they are familiar with this syndrome.
    She has been in pain every day for almost two years. It stops here. With my searching the internet! Thank you for your post!!

  2. I had micro surgery three years ago and now I have this huge lump on lowere right bottom around my hip and pain. It is terrible even with pain meds. I will have to have surgery as this is affecting my urine out put also and I know this is dangerous

  3. Are the doctors saying that because you have a lot of cellulite or fat? A mass that size, shouldn’t belong there, no matter what the cause. Since I don’t know the condition of your body, I I don’t know why the docs are saying that. You might consult a plastic surgeon. They are good with that type of stuff.

  4. Could this be what I have? I have a rather large mass on my hip, like a half grapefruit/softball size. I’ve seen 2 doctors they have both said it isn’t a lipoma because they can’t feel edges. But it feels like fat, so they both have said it isn’t a mass, just sagging fat or cellulite. It is on the corner of the my hip… in between where the side of my hip and my actually butt. I have been experiencing lower back pain and shoulder neck pain. I started seeing a chiropractor for the pain just a couple of weeks ago. I don’t recall any injury though to my back. I did tweak my knee on that side a few weeks ago. It doesn’t hurt unless I move in a certain way or I am sitting. The pain is more in the outside of my glute muscle though, but does permeate upward.

    So thoughts?

  5. The episacral lipoma should be considered more often in the workup and differential diagnosis of acute and chronic low back pain, especially in instances of work-related injuries owing to the traumatic nature of the herniation. Furthermore, it is a condition in which doctors of chiropractic and medical doctors may have much to gain for their patients for inter-referrals.

  6. I am so thankful for this website/ information. I have been searching for info on what these little buggers are. I have them on both sides of my lower back which is why I did not deem it necessary to see a doctor about it yet. I would be more alarmed if it were on one side. One side is larger though. I can pinpoint when I first realized that the area was painful upon pressure; it was when I was doing floor exercises in a workout class. I think that may have been the cause. I am glad to know it is not something to be overly concerned with unless the pain increases. Right now, I only seem to experience pain upon pressure to the nodule itself.

  7. Hello Sali,
    Obviously I can’t tell your situation. The fat in the lump is not what causes pain. It is only if it takes a nerve with it. Could a nerve passed through your fascia on its own. I suppose. You can test by numbing the area and see if your pain goes away while it is numb. You could try to numb it with ice – being mindful not to frostbite your skin, or try a strong pain cream. That’s not quite as good as testing with an anesthetic from a doc, but should give you an indication.

  8. I’m in a bit of a awkward situation. . After the surgery it’s been months now I think I’ve re split the fascia
    And it’s causing me agony .. The doctors feel no lump and therefore i was sent away there’s no lump but it’s split I can feel it!

  9. Tessa Paproth on said:

    Following up from my earlier post… the MRI showed a large disc bulge L5-S1, I managed to get in for surgery with a Melbourne Neurosurgeon who performed a partial discectomy with fantastic results. I’ve recovered much sooner than I’d hoped, I’m doing rehab to strengthen and replace all the muscle I lost. The confusion was that I also had a fatty lipoma (I finally had an ultrasound to confirm it) it was in the same area as the nerve and I hoped it was the lipoma causing the problem because I was so afraid of having spinal surgery, but the MRI confirmed it was my disk. This kind of spinal surgery if you need it is keyhole and you can walk around (rather stiffly) straight after. A couple of days in hospital but don’t be scared like me, and don’t put off the MRI – surgery has improved and I’d recommend it if it is required.

  10. Pain in the abdomen probably has nothing to do with the lumps. Since you are seeing a doctor, get checked out.

  11. Aye. Sorry for bugging. It feels like the last time he did the op he didn’t repair the hole in the fascia because after 2 . I am seeing a doctor tomorrow he is a vascular specialist and also does hernia operations I’m just hoping to whatevers out there because it’s so so painful .

  12. Hi there he name of my doctor UK London East . Is Mr Amit Sinha of spire roading HOSPITAL . Also I’m in excruciating pain where sitting up even hurts the whole of my abdomen I think the lump in my back caused another opposite but on the front of my hip I feel weak and sick

  13. Hi there he name of my doctor UK London East . Is Mr Amit Sinha of spire roading HOSPITAL . Also I’m in excruciating pain where sitting up even hurts the whole of my abdomen I think the lump in my back caused another opposite but on the front of my hip I feel we and sick

  14. Sallaway, it is not possible for me to figure out your back pain because it “might” be complicated by this or that. You are obviously dealing with health providers who have the ability (hopefully) to see / feel your body and answer your questions. Make a list of your questions for them. Lose the Haha stuff if you want to be taken seriously.

  15. Hi tessa. , just want to say I, going in for my second operation hopefully in a month or two (hopefully sooner, God forbid it take that long) this time to remove the lump and also repair a hernia, your completely right about the lump making the 3rd to go numb , , ive endured the agony it caused for 2 years and now After 7 weeks pain free im back again. ️Haha. Well admin your help please, would an Si belt help my situation im in my tendons etc in my back are aching like mad, but I have a hernia at the front also , and probably have a short gastrocnemius muscle which has caused said problems. (Any tips for that too with my back problem? Thanks

  16. Pingback: Back Pain Top Of Hips

  17. Hello Tessa, From what you say it sounds like you probably do have a problem in your lower spine. It should be fairly easy to confirm or rule out the lump as the cause. If you have someone press firmly on it while you are lying face down and it causes no pain it is a essentially harmless lump. If it causes pain and you then can get a doctor to inject an anesthetic into it and the pain goes away it is the lump. Download this to show a doctor:
    Again, it is more likely in the spinal column, but I suggest you test the lump first because that is easier and much cheaper to do.

  18. Hi, this is what I have. It’s the first time I’ve heard about it, so thank you all for sharing. I think it started with a sex injury 8 months ago, laying on back with knees raised, partner on top, extended knee back to near ear, parter climaxes, releases all wait onto me. I felt a tear, I can’t recall where in my lower back exactly. I have since been to remedial massage, intensive chiro 3 times a week for 5 weeks. Rest. Tried stretching. Nothing helps for more than a couple of hours. I had to take extended time off work. They let me go, but they didn’t say it’s because I’ve taken so much time off work… I just don’t want to wake up in the morning, the mornings are the worst for me. My boyfriend doesn’t get my suffering… why can’t I drive? Why am I pacing around the room in the middle of the night.. I couldn’t be much fun to be around, I’m constantly rubbing it, contorting myself, kneeling on the carpet to watch TV – anything to not cramp up.

    My lump is on the right side of my hip right beside the dimple in my back. It’s about a cm in diameter. It’s floating there, it doesn’t hurt to touch. Directly parallel, between it and my spine there’s an area that hurts immensely and I think this was the first place that hurt. If I get any relief, like a 4 out of 10 I’ve noticed the lump has shrunk/dissapeared to almost nothing. Before reading the report I had self diagnosed sciatica. I can’t bend forward or stretch my right leg in front of me I have to have it bent. Besides the mouse, this part of the report really got me interested. My Xrays showed my right pelvis is drooping, L4/L5 gap also half the size it should be. Chiro said we need to rotate my hip and release the L5 nerve. The surrounding muscles were like rock but they are stronger and more flexible after chiro. That is all the chiro could do for me. I have intense knife twisting spasms that lock up my whole leg, originating from above the hip and sometimes my 3rd toe goes numb. In my buttock dimple it feels like the dentist is putting in the needle and moving it around. Acupuncture I could only do 1 session, it made it worse. When I wake up my right leg is shorter by an inch, its impossible to extend my leg out in front, it feels locked. I’m from Melbourne, I’ll have to have a look at what’s happening locally with regard to surgery but after reading your posts I’ll be pulling rank when the Dr says blah blah I didn’t give it much consideration.. have a nice slow recovery surgery!!!! Should I still have the MRI based on this info? Keen to hear your thoughts.

  19. Thanks for your story. Any chance you could share your surgeon’s name as they appear to be a rarity.

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