We see many people in the office each year with the complaint of pain in the groin. Most patients have a bulge in addition to pain, and the diagnosis of a hernia is easy to make. However, some patients have pain but no bulge. A hernia diagnosis in this situation is much less likely. A groin strain, or athletic pubalgia is more likely. In fact, almost one in four patients referred for a hernia has a groin strain. In order to figure out if the pain is coming from a hernia or groin strain, it is important to see your doctor or a hernia specialist.
Many patients will sustain an injury to their lower abdomen or upper thigh as a result of a new exercise routine, or recent heavy lifting. In winter, shoveling is a common way to injure the core. During the rest of the year, moving boxes or starting a new gym routine may cause problems. Patients with a groin strain will often have pain at night, something patients with a symptomatic hernia rarely experience. Most injuries are due to an imbalance in the core musculature and require some form of physical therapy to correct. Some people are able to work on their core at home, while others utilize a personal trainer or physical therapist.