INTRODUCTION: Patients feel low back pain originating from discogenic disease. It has been reported that the rat lower lumbar discs are innervated mainly by L2 dorsal root ganglion neurons. Thus, it is possible that patients feel referred groin pain corresponding to the L2 dermatome originating from intervertebral discs; however, the referred pain has not been fully clarified in humans.
METHODS: We selected 5 patients with groin pain alone for investigation. The patients suffered from groin pain and showed disc degeneration only at one level (L4‐L5 or L5‐S1) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Patients did not show any hip joint abnormality on X‐ray films or MRI. To prove that their groin pain originated in degenerated intervertebral discs, we evaluated changes in groin pain after infiltration of lidocaine into hip joints, and examined pain provocation on discography, pain relief by anesthetic discoblock, and finally after lumbar anterior interbody fusion surgery.
RESULTS: All patients were negative for hip joint block, positive for pain provocation on discography, and positive for pain relief by anesthetic discoblock. Furthermore, bony union was achieved 1 year after anterior interbody fusion surgery in all patients and visual analog scale score of groin pain was significantly improved at 1 year after surgery in all patients (P< 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: In the current study, we diagnosed discogenic groin pain using MRI, infiltration of lidocaine into the hip joint, pain provocation on discography, pain relief by anesthetic discoblock, and lumbar surgery. It is important to consider the existence of discogenic groin pain if patients do not show low back pain.