Loss of range of motion in your hip may be causing you lower back pain.  People with low back pain have less hip rotation range of motion compared to people without low back pain.  It is also common for people with low back pain to have side-to-side differences in hip rotation range of motion.  For example, one hip may rotate a total of 75 degrees, and the other hip only 60 degrees.

Hip mobility problems are due to stiffness in the joint capsule or muscles that cross the joint.  if you have restricted hip mobility due to joint stiffness, this is best treated with manual therapy performed by your physical therapist.

The Importance of Hip Internal Rotation

Hip internal rotation involves rotating your thigh inward towards the midline of your body.  Your hip must internally rotate when your leg is behind your body during normal walking.   If this motion is unavailable at the hip, the movement must then occur at your spine.

Hip internal rotation must also occur when performing any type of pivot or change of direction when walking.   Many sports activities, such as swinging a golf club, require large amounts of hip rotation.  If the motion is not available at your hip, your spine must compensate.  This results in abnormal movement and stress to the structures of your low back.

Proven Benefits of Hip Manual Therapy

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice investigated the effects of providing manual therapy and exercise targeting the hips in people with low back pain.  Half of the participants received treatment for their spine only.  The other half received treatment for their spine and hips.

Joint mobilization improves internal rotation range of motion

The group treated with manual therapy and exercise targeting the hips were more satisfied with their treatment.  They also reported greater improvements in pain and disability compared to the group receiving treatments for their spine only.

Hip Manual Therapy Techniques

Included below are examples of 3 proven hip joint mobilization techniques.  The techniques you receive during your treatment are based on findings from your physical therapist’s examination.  Mobilization techniques are not painful.  You will only feel a mild stretching sensation.  Expect immediate improvements in your hip range of motion.  However, in order for these improvements to be sustained, home exercises are needed.

See Your Physical Therapist to Receive Manual Therapy

There is no one magic treatment for low back pain.  Abdominal and low back strengthening exercises are effective.  However, the best results usually occur when multiple treatments are combined and patients are taught to self-manage.  Treatment focused only on the spine is often only partially effective.  In order for results to be sustained, an exercise program targeting hip mobility and hip strength are also included.

The physical therapists at BSR have been helping people in Southern Ocean County move without pain since 2007.  Manual therapy is an important component of most treatment plans.  Call our office to schedule an initial evaluation with your physical therapist and start feeling better right away.

Exercises and physical therapy for lower back pain
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