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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A common, often undiagnosed form of low back pain can be detected easily and treated effectively, a University of Tennessee rheumatologist said in a national medical publication.

Dr. Thomas C. Namey, chief of rheumatology and sports medicine at the UT Medical Center here, said studies indicate trochanteric bursitis is most common in older women.

The condition can cause pain in the buttocks, the rear and sides of the thighs and the groin, Namey said. The pain is aggravated by physical activity and by lying on the involved side at night, he said.

The UT physician said trochanteric bursitis can be caused by leg length inequality.

”Typical symptoms include a deep, dull, aching pain over the side of the hip,” Namey said.

The condition was found in 35 percent of a recent study sample of 52 women and 48 men whose median age was 39, Namey said. It can be diagnosed during a careful physical examination and relieved quickly with injections of cortisone and an anesthetic, he said.

Namey outlined his views in a recent issue of ”The Back Letter,” a health care newsletter on the treatment of back pain.