Managing Back Pain & Hip Strengthening
By: Corey Fraer PTA
There's been some good research showing the connections between hip strength and flexibility playing different roles in the presentation of back pain.
Strengthening the hips when performed in conjunction with back stabilization exercises shows notably better outcomes than performing only back strengthening exercises.
A good start to hip exercise that you can do at home is the basic 3-way kicking exercise. To do this stand at your kitchen counter, the back of your couch, behind a heavy chair back, or somewhere that you are able to have both hands holding on for support. While keeping your back and trunk straight upright, slowly kick one leg out forward, to the side, and backward, ten times in each direction, then repeat with the other leg. This can hit several hip muscles at a time for effective strengthening.
Stretching the leg and hip muscles is an important factor to focus on as well because if the back and core are weak, the body will rely on leg and hip muscles to stay upright, leading them to be overworked and tight, restricting movement and putting too much strain on the back. The hamstrings are some of the bigger muscles in the body, and stretching them can be a good start to addressing back pain. Sit in a chair, towards the front of the seat, and extend one leg forward with toes pointing towards the ceiling and the heel on the ground. Keeping the knee straight, bend forward at the hips until you feel a stretch in the back of the knee, holding 30 seconds for 3 times on each leg.
These are some options to get started with exercise, but please check with your physician to see if it's appropriate for you, or better yet, reach out to your closest Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Center office to be seen and receive a personalized approach to your pain. There are several other strategies we can provide you with, alongside the expertise to tailor therapy with manual therapy and modalities meant to help bring more pain relief, so you can get back to what you want to do without pain.