Stretch the Hips for Low Back Pain Relief

By Anna Checket

Low back pain is an elusive condition that can have many causes… but most times it has us clutching, well… our low back. However, the source of pain in this region is not always what it seems, and can be caused by dysfunctions in areas of the body we wouldn’t expect. Namely, in the front. Go figure. Your hip flexors (located deep in the front of the hip, and connecting the abdomen, hip and leg) are responsible for what it sounds like – flexing your hip (think folding at the hip, such as in sitting down into a chair). So it would make sense that prolonged seated positions would make this musculature tight and shortened, since your body adapts to repetitive postures (literally re-modeling tissues to reflect what they are asked to do). Tightness of the hip flexors contributes to an imbalance in the body, and causes a compensation pattern at the low back, causing pain. Read more about the consequences of prolonged sitting here. If you sit for long periods of time and also have low back pain, try this hip stretch daily to restore proper balance in the hips.

hip stretch demonstration

  1. Start with your right knee and the ball of your right foot on the floor. The left leg will be flex at 90 degrees in front.
  2. Place both hands on the floor on the inside on your left foot.
  3. Tension your core musculature and gently “press” your hips forward to stretch your hips (quads and hip flexor on the right and the glutes on the left).
  4. Rock your hips back, keeping your hands/fingers on the floor, for a bonus hamstring stretch.
  5. Oscillate slowly back and forth for 30 seconds on both sides.

Repeat 2-5 times daily.


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