If You Are Reading This You Probably Currently Have Have Dealt With In The Past Or Know Of Someone Close To You Who Has Experienced Chronic Low Back Pain
In fact, it is estimated that up to 80% of the population will experience low back pain at some point in their lifetime . If you have low back pain you may have even gone as far to get checked out by a doctor, only to find that you have no structural damage and are left with the advice to strengthen your core and stretch more. Despite doing this you may have had no relief from your symptoms or by chance they have become even worse.
How To Tell The Difference Between Hip And Lower Back Pain
Orthopedic treatment of hip and lower back pain is not black and white. As a practicing spine surgeon for the last fifteen years, Ive found that determining the root issue of someones pain in these areas is often grey and filled with ambiguities. The anatomy of the hip and back is comprised of numerous parts that can be injured or wear out, and many problems that occur in this area can display the exact same symptoms or pathology.
To put it plainly, sometimes hip pain comes from the hip, but a lot of times hip pain comes from the back. Sometimes back pain comes from the back, but a lot of times back pain comes from the hip. Eighty to ninety percent of the population develops a debilitating back or hip pain at some point in their life, and this issue is the second most common reason for missed work behind the common cold.
Fortunately, our bodies typically take care of the issue on their own. When a flare up of symptoms occur in our hips or lower back, usually a combination of rest, activity modification, anti-inflammatories, and exercises calms the pain down.
Does Degenerative Disc Disease Affect The Lower Back Muscles
Another common cause of lower back and hip pain is disc. A disk injury such as a disc herniation would be similar to the jelly filling of a donut pushing out the side. This jelly filling may press on a nerve and cause either muscular weakness or discomfort, such as sciatica. Degenerative Disc Disease, or DDD, may also lead to lower back and hip pain. This is basically where the disk shrinks and decreases the space between each vertebra. This may lead to arthritis in the spine or Spondylosis. Bone spurs and nerve compression may result from degenerative changes.
Image of a Herniated Disc.
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Exercises To Stretch And Strengthen Tight Hip Flexors And Prevent Lower Back Pain
This is the easiest way to release any tightness in the hip flexors stretching will help to lengthen the muscles whilst strength-building will help them to support the rest of the body. Check out our easy videos below for a couple of exercises that you can try that will directly target the hip flexors. We love to move and encourage others to move too here at A.Vogel so why not check out our Get Active Hub? Here we share lots of handy tips and tricks on how to exercise, more easy-to-follow videos as well as some info on exercise recovery and nutrition.
Poor Posture And Tight Hip Flexors
Many people associate poor posture with hunching at the upper regions of the spine but actually poor posture can originate at the lower spine at the hips. If you have an anterior pelvic tilt youll have less muscle strength in your core all the way down to your feet.
When the pelvis is pulled out of alignment in this way the lower back suffers as a result of added pressure and weakened tummy muscles. An anterior pelvic tilt pushes the pelvis forwards causing your chest to come forward and your butt to push backwards. Not only is this type of position more likely to cause more back pain but it also affects your posture.
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Reverse Active Straight Leg Raise
Blood Vessels And Nerves Of The Hip
Nerves carry signals from the brain to the muscles to move the hip and carry signals from the muscles back to the brain about pain, pressure and temperature. The main nerves of the hip that supply the muscles in the hip include the femoral, obturator, and sciatic nerves.
The sciatic nerve is the most commonly recognized nerve in the hip and thigh. The sciatic nerve is largeas big around as your thumband travels beneath the gluteus maximus down the back of the thigh where it branches to supply the muscles of the leg and foot. Hip dislocations can cause injury to the sciatic nerve.
The blood supply to the hip is extensive and comes from branches of the internal and external iliac arteries: the femoral, obturator, superior and inferior gluteal arteries. The femoral artery is well-known because of its use in cardiac catheterization. You can feel its pulse in your groin area. It travels from deep within the hip down the thigh and down to the knee. It is the continuation of the external iliac artery which lies within the pelvis. The main blood supply to the femoral head comes from vessels that branch off of the femoral artery: the lateral and medial femoral circumflex arteries. Disruption of these arteries can lead to osteonecrosis of the femoral head. These arteries can become disrupted with hip fractures and hip dislocations.
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Lower Back And Hip Stretches
What’s the opposite of a tight, weak muscle? A strong, flexible muscle â so even as you tackle gentle strengthening exercises, pair them with stretching exercises for those overly tight muscles.
Hold each of these lower back and hip stretches for at least 15 to 30 seconds, and repeat several times on each side. Make sure you’re stretching to the point of tension, not pain these stretches are supposed to feel good, not hurt.
How The Hip Flexor Can Be A Source Of Low Back Pain
Far too many of us have been there at some point stubborn low back pain that just doesnt get better no matter how much we stretch and foam-roll our hamstrings. While the hamstrings can play a roll in low back discomfort, there is a much more likely culprit: the hip flexor, or more specifically, the psoas major. Unfortunately the front of the hip is often an over-looked area when it comes to the diagnosis and management of low back pain. In this post Im going to break down just how exactly the hip flexor can potentially wreck havoc on the low back.
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Pain And Stiffness In The Lower Back And Hip
A feeling of stiffness can accompany pain in the lower back and hip. This symptom is typically a protective mechanism of the body to prevent further injury in the area. Stiffness that occurs with pain can be debilitating and reduce function in the back, hip, and leg considerably. Here are a few common conditions that may cause these symptoms to occur together.
What Is The Fastest Way To Heal A Hip Flexor Strain
Some common ways to help treat hip flexor strain are:
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Lower Back Muscle Anatomy And Low Back Pain
Understanding lower back anatomy is key to understanding the root of lower back and hip pain. The human spine is composed of 4 sections of vertebrae. These sections are:
The lumbar and sacrum region make up the bone of the lower back anatomy. The spinal cord is contained within the spine’s vertebrae, running through the vertebral foramen and branching out to the peripheries through the intervertebral foramen. The muscles of the low back work together with the transverse abdominal muscles to increase intra-abdominal pressure.
Pulled Muscle In Lower Back Exercises
There are several exercises you can perform to help your lower back heal. Not only will they help the muscle spasms you may be having, they make your back stronger so its not as likely to become injured again.
Here are a few easy stretching exercises. Take them slowly and move gradually into each position. If any of these make your back pain worse, stop and see a doctor.
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Mononeuropathies Of The Leg
Mononeuropathies can affect nerves in the legs, arms, or other parts of the body. Mononeuropathy means a single nerve or nerve group has been damaged, for example, by a lesion that has developed along a nerve or group of nerves. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a good example of a mononeuropathy, in this case, affecting the wrist area. With mononeuropathy symptoms may be sudden or may develop slowly . Some of the more common mononeuropathies are
- femoral neuropathy
- sciatic nerve dysfunction
- peroneal neuropathy .
- tibial neuropathy .
Symptoms of the neuropathies above would include burning sensation in leg areas where these nerves are housed as well as lack of coordination of these leg muscles. Other symptoms include muscle wasting, pain, and twitching, cramps, and spasms in these nerves. Treatment focuses on isolating the underlying cause of the nerve disorder and addressing it using medications such as injected glucocorticoids and/or physical
Should I Wear A Back Brace
The quick answer is that most people should not wear a back brace during normal daily activity. The problem with back braces is that our bodies are inherently lazy. When we provide external support like a back brace, the muscles that are supposed to keep the back stable, stop work properly.
We have an internal back brace known as the abdominal muscles. The deepest abdominal muscle, the transverse abdominis works like a corset and provides stability for the spine. If it works properly, it should provide all the support you need. If it does not work properly, see a physical therapist to learn how to regain control of the core muscles.
There are cases when a back brace is needed. These include:
- immediately after some spinal surgeries
- cases of severe instability
- corrective scoliosis braces
Some companies require employees to wear a back brace when lifting heavy items. Whether this helps is controversial.
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What Are The Muscles Of The Lower Back
Some of the muscles of the low back include:
- Latissimus Dorsi
However, there are many back muscles which can cause pain. Please refer to the Lower Back Muscle picture below to see all of the muscles of the back.
The pelvic floor muscles also help increase this pressure, which provides stability to the spine and trunk. Common hip and back pain causes include injury to muscles from overuse, disc injury/degeneration, or spinal stenosis. To learn more about the lower back anatomy of the spine, please watch this video.
Lower and Upper Back Muscles
What Is Radiating Pain
Radiating pain is pain that “radiates” from one area of the body to other areas of the body. When pain in one area of the body causes pain in other areas, this is known as “referred pain.” In fact, radiating lower back and hip pain can cause pain in all kinds of places near these areas like
- Thigh muscle pain
- Pain back of the knee
- Knee pain at night
- Pain in the upper thigh
- Numbing of nerves in leg
- Hip and groin pain
- Pain in the back of leg behind the knee
- Pain in one side side
- Pain in the calf
- Pain in back of the knee
- Hip and groin pain
- Sharp pain in the toes
- Lower calf pain
Note your symptoms from the list above and use these to learn your diagnosis with our helpful descriptions of symptoms, possible causes, and when you should get to a doctor or emergency room to know how to treat your injury.
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Extensor Flexor And Oblique Muscles And Back Pain
Three types of back muscles that help the spine function are extensors, flexors and obliques.
- The extensor muscles are attached to back of the spine and enable standing and lifting objects. These muscles include the large paired muscles in the lower back, called erector spinae, which help hold up the spine, and gluteal muscles.
- The flexor muscles are attached to the front of the spine and enable flexing, bending forward, lifting, and arching the lower back.
- The oblique muscles are attached to the sides of the spine and help rotate the spine and maintain proper posture.
Perhaps The Problem Actually Does Not Lie Within Your Low Back But In Your Hips
The human body is like an amazingly intricate machine and is constantly performing tasks subconsciously and consciously – no matter what the cost. If one area is not capable of performing the demands required of it, the body will compensate and move the load somewhere else. For many people, the hips are both tight and weak and because of this the body compensates hundreds or even thousands times a day by having the low back do the extra work. Even if you are one of the lucky ones who have avoided low back pain to this point, chances are there is still some amount of dysfunction that can be addressed in your hips to help keep you injury free.
To help your low back we must first work on the mobility of your hips, followed by the stability and proper function of them. A hip is made up of a ball and socket joint. This type of joint requires muscles on all sides of it to hold it in place, which opens up the possibility for a lot of tightness and dysfunction. While there are many options to choose from to address this, I am going to highlight a few stretches and exercises, most of which require only body weight, that I have seen make the biggest difference for my clients.
Hip Flexor Stretch The Kneeling Lunge
Piriformis Stretch Pigeon Pose
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Radiating Lower Back Pain Quiz
Take a quiz to find out what’s causing your pain.
Severe pain always gets your attention and keeps it there, making you wonder if there is something worrisome that is wrong.
Back pain and outer hip pain area can be especially troublesome, causing you pain when you move, walk, and even when you sleep. Sciatic nerve pain is especially troubling, causing pain in the butt literally and shooting pain in the leg that begins in the mid buttock and runs down the back of the leg down to the ankle.
We’ve put together a handy guide that will help you pinpoint the exact cause of your pain and know how seriousor mild, your condition is and to know if you need to get help immediately or see a doctor at your convenience.
If you are concerned that the cause of your radiating back/hip/leg pain might be something serious, check the more serious possible causes of your pain below to see what doctors say about when to worry about radiating hip and back pain.
You can also consult our handy back pain quiz, which will help you use your symptoms to diagnose possible causes for your pain.
How Should I Sleep With Hip Flexor Pain
Managing hip pain at night
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The Hip Flexors And The Stress Response
Tension in the hip and flexors is also commonly associated with emotional stress. The hip flexors are major muscles of movement and are primed for motion by the flight or fight response. Yet, they also pull the knees into the stomach to curl us into a fetal ball when the freeze response is activated. Thus, relieving chronic stress can help the psoas muscle to relax.
One of the easiest ways to do this is deep relaxed breathing, like that done in yoga, taichi, or qigong.
For this type of meditative breath, you should breathe all the way down into the pelvis. If you place your thumbs in the belly button, and cross your hands over the lower abdomen, you should feel your tummy expand all the way to this area when you breathe in, and should feel your hands sink in as you breathe out.
Deep breathing like this will both alternately stretch and compress the psoas muscle as well as activate the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the rest, digest, and recover system that acts to counter the flight, flight, or freeze response, both relaxing the muscles itself, and the body overall.
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