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Lower Back and Hip Pain Relief through Physical Therapy

Lower Back and Hip Pain: Relief through Physical Therapy


Lower back and hip pain not only affects millions globally, but it also significantly impacts daily functioning and quality of life. Fortunately, physical therapy offers effective, non-invasive solutions that address both symptoms and underlying causes.

This blog explores the intricacies of lower back and hip pain and how physical therapy can be utilized to achieve relief and restore activity levels.

Understanding Lower Back And Hip Pain

The lower back (lumbar spine) and hips are a complex network of muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and nerves. Working together, they provide stability and movement for our daily activities. Unfortunately, this intricate system is also prone to pain. In fact, low back pain is a common global problem, affecting an estimated 7.5% of the global population in 2017, or around 577.0 million people. The sources of this pain can be diverse, making an accurate diagnosis crucial for effective treatment.

Due to their interconnected nature, the lower back and hips rely on each other for proper function. Dysfunction or pain in one area can easily spread and impact the other. For instance, chronic lower back pain can limit your hip movements, leading to tightness and pain in the hip muscles. Conversely, any abnormality in hip function, like stiffness or weakness, can disrupt the mechanics of your lower back, causing discomfort in both regions.

Common Causes Of Lower Back And Hip Pain

Muscle Strain And Sprains

These common injuries are caused by overstretching or tearing muscles and ligaments. They often occur during heavy lifting or engaging in activities without proper warm-up, resulting in muscle pain and mobility issues.

Herniated Discs

Disc herniation happens when the gel-like center of a disc bulges out through a tear in its tough exterior, often compressing nearby nerves. This condition is the common reason for severe lower back pain and sciatica.

Degenerative Conditions And Arthritis

Osteoarthritis and other degenerative conditions gradually wear down the cushioning between joints and the spine, leading to pain and stiffness that worsens over time.

Poor Posture And Alignment Issues

Chronic bad posture can lead to significant stress on the spine and hip joints, causing a type of pain that is ongoing and leading to other issues such as disc herniation and muscle strain.

Sciatica And Nerve Compression

Characterized by sharp pain shooting through the buttock and down the leg, sciatica often manifests as significant buttock pain. This discomfort is typically caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve, which can arise from a herniated disc or an overgrowth of bone on the vertebrae.

Overuse Injuries And Repetitive Strain

Activities that involve repetitive motions can lead to overuse injuries, which are chronic conditions that result from cumulative damage over time, affecting muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Structural Abnormalities And Spinal Conditions

Congenital abnormalities like scoliosis or acquired conditions such as spondylolisthesis can cause significant pain and functional limitations.

Pregnancy-Related Back And Hip Pain

The added weight and shift in center of gravity during pregnancy often lead to increased strain on the back and hips, compounded by the hormonal loosening of ligaments and joints.

Sports Injuries And Trauma

Direct impact or accidents during sports and physical activities can lead to acute injuries or worsen existing health conditions, resulting in back and hip pain.

Occupational Factors And Sedentary Lifestyle

Jobs that involve heavy lifting or prolonged sitting can increase the risk of developing lower back and hip pain, highlighting the need for preventive measures in workplace ergonomics.

How To Relieve Lower Back And Hip Pain

How To Relieve Lower Back And Hip Pain

Proper Body Mechanics And Posture

Adopting and maintaining proper body mechanics and posture is important in preventing and managing lower back and hip pain. It reduces the strain placed on these areas, preventing overstretching and excessive loading.

Stretching Exercises For Lower Back And Hip Flexibility

Incorporating daily stretching routines can greatly enhance flexibility, relieve stiffness, and significantly reduce the risk of muscle strains.

Strengthening Exercises For Core Stability

A strong core supports the lower spine, reducing the burden on the hips and improving overall posture. Exercises like planks and bridges are effective in building this crucial muscular strength.

Low-Impact Aerobic Activities For Pain Relief

Engaging in low-impact aerobic activities such as swimming, walking, or stationary cycling can increase blood flow to back and hip muscles, helping to nourish those tissues and reduce stiffness. Incorporating activity modification strategies, like adjusting the intensity and duration of exercises, ensures that these activities remain beneficial without worsening pain.

Heat And Cold Therapy For Soothing Pain And Inflammation

Heat therapy can relax and loosen tissues and stimulate blood flow to the area. On the other hand, cold therapy can reduce inflammation and numb deep pain.

Mind-Body Techniques: Yoga And Meditation

These techniques not only reduce stress, which can worsen pain but also enhance the body’s overall alignment and flexibility, aiding in pain management.

Ergonomic Adjustments For Home And Workplace

Ergonomic tools, such as supportive chairs, standing desks, and proper keyboard placement, can significantly reduce strain on the body during daily activities.

Pain Medication And Over-The-Counter Options

When managed appropriately, over the counter medications can serve as a short-term solution to relieve severe pain, making it possible to participate in physical therapy and other activities that promote recovery.

Alternative Therapies: Acupuncture And Chiropractic Care

These therapies offer alternative means of pain management, focusing on the body’s pressure points, alignment, and overall physical function to relieve pain.

Restorative Sleep And Mattress Selection

Quality sleep is important for healing, and the right mattress can provide the necessary support to reduce pressure on the back and hips during the night. A combination of rest on a supportive mattress and strategic sleeping positions can significantly enhance the restorative effects of sleep.

Benefits Of Physical Therapy For Lower Back And Hip Pain Relief

Improved Pain Management And Relief

Through targeted exercises and manual therapies, physical therapy for lower back and hip pain helps to significantly manage and reduce pain levels.

Addressing The Root Causes Of Pain

Physical therapists focus on diagnosing and treating the underlying source of pain rather than merely addressing common symptoms, leading to more sustainable health improvements.

Enhanced Mobility And Functionality

Regular sessions improve flexibility and strength, which are essential for both recovery and the prevention of future injuries.

Individualized Treatment Plans

Each patient’s pain and physical condition are unique, and so are the treatment plans designed by physical therapists, tailored to meet individual needs and recovery goals.

Non-Invasive And Drug-Free Approach

Physical therapy provides an alternative to surgical options and long-term reliance on pain medication, emphasizing natural methods of pain management and healing.

Preventing Recurrence Of Pain

Educational components of physical therapy empower patients with the knowledge and exercises needed to prevent future episodes of back and hip pain.

Holistic Approach To Healing

Physical therapy treats the whole person, integrating techniques that support overall health and well-being, not just specific symptoms.

Collaboration With Healthcare Professionals

Physical therapists often collaborate with a team of healthcare providers, including doctors and pain specialists, to ensure comprehensive care that addresses all aspects of a patient’s health. This collaborative approach is particularly important for individuals experiencing persistent lower back and hip pain. 

If your back and hip pain persists for more than a few weeks and begins to interfere with your daily activities, your doctor may recommend starting physical therapy as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Increased Quality Of Life

Reducing pain and improving functionality naturally lead to an enhanced ability to engage in daily activities and enjoy a higher quality of life.

Empowerment And Education For Self-Care

Patients leave physical therapy equipped with the tools and knowledge necessary for self-care, enabling them to manage their health and prevent future issues actively.

Physical Therapy Treatments For Lower Back And Hip Pain

Manual Therapy Techniques

Joint Mobilization

Gentle manipulation of the joints can help to restore mobility and relieve pain in restricted joints and tissues.

Soft Tissue Massage

Targeted massage techniques help relieve muscle tension, enhance blood circulation, and promote relaxation in areas that contribute to back and hip joint pain.

Myofascial Release

This technique focuses on relieving pain through the release of tension and tightness in the fascial tissues surrounding muscles and organs.

Therapeutic Exercise Programs

Therapeutic Exercise Programs

Core Strengthening Exercises

Specific exercises aimed at strengthening the core muscles support the spine, reducing the load on the lower back and hips and preventing pain.

Hip Stabilization Exercises

These physical therapy exercises strengthen the muscles around the hip and lower back, enhancing stability and preventing injuries.

Flexibility Exercises For The Lower Back And Hips

Flexibility training is important for maintaining the range of motion and preventing tight muscles from contributing to pain and injury.

Electrical Stimulation

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

This non-invasive therapy uses low-voltage electrical current to relieve pain by blocking nerve conduits.

Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)

EMS is used to reduce pain, promote muscle strength, and help heal injured muscles by increasing blood circulation to the affected areas.

Ultrasound Therapy

Therapeutic ultrasound is a method of stimulating the tissue beneath the skin’s surface using sound waves, promoting lower back and hip pain relief.

Heat And Cold Therapy:

Alternating heat and cold therapy can help reduce inflammation, soothe pain, and stimulate blood flow to injured or affected areas.

Spinal Traction

By gently pulling the spine, traction therapy can help relieve pressure on compressed discs and improve alignment, reducing pain.

Postural Education And Correction:

Physical therapists provide guidance on proper posture to prevent chronic pain and to support the body’s natural alignment.

Assistive Devices And Supports:

Supportive devices like braces, belts, and shoe insoles can play an important role in preventing and managing lower back and hip pain by providing additional stability and support.

Patient Education And Self-Management:

Knowledge is power—educating patients about their conditions and the mechanics of pain helps them manage their health more effectively and make informed decisions about their treatment options.

Unlocking Lasting Relief with Kendall Performance PT

At Kendall Performance Physical Therapy, we combine state-of-the-art physical therapy techniques with personalized care plans to help patients recover from lower back and hip pain and enjoy lasting relief. Our approach focuses not just on relieving symptoms but also on educating patients about long-term health and mobility.


Physical therapy is a cornerstone of treatment for lower back and hip pain, offering a wide range of benefits from pain relief to improved mobility. By addressing the root causes of pain and equipping patients with tools for self-care, physical therapy provides a sustainable, health-promoting solution to this common condition.


Does physical therapy help back and hip pain?

Absolutely. Physical therapy is proven to be effective in relieving back and hip pain through various techniques including manual therapy, exercises, and patient education.

How do you relieve hip and lower back pain?

Relieving hip and lower back pain involves a combination of physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, ergonomic adjustments, and appropriate exercise. Consistent application of these strategies significantly improves pain and function.

Why do my hips and lower back hurt so bad?

Severe pain in the hips and lower back can be a result of various factors, including injuries, arthritis, poor posture, overuse, or underlying medical conditions. A thorough assessment by a healthcare professional, such as a physical therapist, can help identify the specific causes and appropriate treatment strategies.

dr kee with his arms crossed and the words dr kee.

Dr. Christopher Kendall PT

Kendall Performance PT

We help athletes and active adults move better, live pain-free, and get stronger to improve the health of our community and provide each client the knowledge to remain healthy and independent the rest of their lives.