Upper thigh pain can occur in the muscles, tendons, joints and even bones in the pelvis region. It is often caused by repetitive stress movements during sports or rigorous activities, but it can also be caused by aging or certain diseases. Upper thigh pain symptoms can vary from mild aching to more severe or acute pain. Treatment usually includes rest, ice and heat, medication, massage, and exercise. However, some conditions may require surgery.
Upper thigh pain symptoms can include pain in hamstrings (back of thigh) or on the outside or inside of the quadriceps (thigh muscle). Other symptoms can include a burning sensation or numbness and aching in the groin or buttocks area. The pain or numbness usually occurs on only one side of the body. The affected area may also be sensitive to touch or pressure as well. Sciatica (pain that shoots down the leg) can be a symptom of upper thigh pain. The sciatica nerve has nerve roots in the spine. Compression on these nerves can cause pain to shoot down the back and back of the thighs.
Effects of Rest, Ice and Heat
People with upper thigh pain symptoms usually require rest for a certain period of time. Rest can prevent further aggravation of the muscles or source of the ailment. Rest also allows time for ice to reduce inflammation and pain. Ice reduces swelling and consequential pain by causing vasoconstriction, which narrows blood vessels and minimizes blood and lymph flow to the affected area. Ice is most effective when used at 20-minute intervals throughout the day. Once swelling has subsided, heat can promote blood (with its healing properties) flow to the upper thigh area.
Types of Medications
Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen can alleviate inflammation and various pain symptoms in the upper thigh. These medications alleviate swelling and pain by inhibiting Cox-2 enzymes and prostaglandins (body chemicals), which are produced by the body when injuries occur. A doctor may prescribe steroids for more severe pain symptoms in the upper thigh region. Muscle relaxants can also be highly effective for this type of pain.
Benefits of Exercise
A person can alleviate upper thigh pain symptoms with simple stretching and resistance exercises. The range of stretching motions should be limited to movements that do not cause increased pain or related problems. Stretching can help increases mobility in upper thigh muscles, tendons and joints. Lightweight training, walking or bicycling can also help alleviate upper thigh pain symptoms. Upper thigh exercises can promote blood flow to the area and help heal an injury in this area.
Upper thigh pain symptoms may be a result of arthritis or a degenerative bone disease such as osteoporosis. These symptoms can also be a sign of a circulatory problem such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD) or other circulatory problems like heart disease.