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Low Back Pain, And Hip Mobility: Tight Hips Could Be The Culprit.

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James Whitcomb ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist

If you are feeling occasional or chronic low back pain, you may have tight hip muscles, that are pulling your pelvis out of neutral alignment.  If you exercise regularly (or sit for hours a day) and are inflexible, your pain could be the result of tight hamstrings (the muscles in the back of the thigh), and/or tight hip flexors (muscles the bring the knee toward the chest, while standing).  In such a case, developing better flexibility in the major muscle groups that comprise the hip and leg will likely be enough to correct the imbalance, and alleviate pain.

Unfortunately, inflexibility is likely only part of the issue.  Perhaps you have good flexibility, but are still persevering through back pain, regularly.  What is the issue?  Is it your squat form?  Are you running too much?  Perhaps the answer is yes, too both.  However, if you have or are currently working with a Fitness Professional, form or overuse are probably not major factors, causing pain.  The issue now is probably a lack of hip MOBILIITY. 

First, it’s important to understand that Flexibility and Mobility are two separate concepts.  Flexibility relates to a muscle’s ability to contract and relax through its full length.  Mobility is the ability of a joint to travel through its full range of motion.  A lack of mobility in the hips, directly effects pelvic and spinal position, and contributes to the misalignment that can cause pain (a similar scenario to what happens when you are inflexible).


So, let me get to the main point of this article.  Insufficient hip mobility is potentially causing your back pain.  How do you develop better hip mobility?  The key is myofascial release (Foam Rolling, Trigger Point Therapy, Compression Therapy).  If you are unfamiliar with Myofascial Release and how to self-prescribe Trigger Point Therapy, the Personal Trainer’s at Catalyst Fitness are qualified to assess your mobility and prescribe treatment and education that will help get your body back to normal function. 

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