Reduce Back Pain: 5 quick and easy exercises to reduce back pain

Are Tight Glutes Causing Lower Back Pain? Yes. Here’s How To Fix It

Picture of Chris Dounis

Chris Dounis

Chris is an accredited exercise physiologist with over 15 years professional experience working with a wide range of clients.

Lower back pain is a widespread issue that affects many individuals, often hindering their daily activities and overall quality of life.

Although the back may appear to be the primary cause, the link between weak glutes and lower back pain is frequently overlooked. Understanding this relationship is essential for effective management and relief of discomfort from tight glutes causing lower back pain.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into how the glutes and lower back pain are interconnected, exploring the underlying causes and providing actionable solutions.

Where Are Your Glutes

Anatomy of the glutes

Understanding the anatomy of the gluteus maximus muscle and lower back pain is crucial to understanding the relationship between them.

The gluteal muscles, which include the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus, are located in the buttocks and are responsible for hip movement and stability.

On the other hand, the lower back, or the lumbar region, comprises a complicated network of muscles, ligaments, and vertebrae that support the spine and enable movement.

What Is The Link Between Lower Back Pain and Tight Glutes?

Glute weakness can be a major cause of lower back pain. This is because when your glutes are not strong enough to support your hips and pelvis, your lower back takes on the extra strain, leading to discomfort and even injury.

Additionally, if your gluteal muscles are imbalanced or too tight, they can cause misalignment in your pelvis, potentially leading to pain and dysfunction.

Four Common Causes Of Tight Glutes Causing Lower Back Pain

Below, we look at four common factors that can lead to gluteal weakness and imbalance, ultimately causing lower back pain.

1. Sedentary Lifestyle

When you sit for long periods, such as at a desk, your glutes can weaken, and your hip flexors can tighten. This makes it difficult for your glutes to adequately support your lower back.

2. Poor Posture

If you have incorrect posture, such as slouching or excessive arching of your lower back, it can place undue stress on both your glutes and lumbar spine. This can cause pain and discomfort over time.

3. Lack of Exercise

Failing to engage in targeted exercises that strengthen your glutes, such as:

All these plus more can contribute to muscle weakness and imbalance.

4. Injury, Overuse, or Poor Form

Injury, overuse, and constant repetition of poor techniques can cause glute weakness, leading to decreased hip stability and increased risk of lower back pain.

How To Relieve Lower Back Pain

Back and glute pain can be relieved through targeted exercises and lifestyle adjustments. Here are some effective strategies to consider:

Strengthen Your Glutes

Perform exercises like:

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Bridges
  • Clamshells

These exercises, when performed intentionally and with correct form, will improve muscle strength and stability, which can reduce strain on the lower back.

Maintain Good Posture

Whether sitting, standing, or walking, keep your posture correct throughout the day. Engage your core muscles to support your spine, and avoid excessive arching or rounding of your lower back.

Stretch Regularly

Incorporate stretching exercises to promote flexibility and range of motion in your glutes, hip flexors, and other muscle groups. Prioritise dynamic stretches before workouts and static stretches after to improve muscle function, prevent injury, and help relieve pain. Stretching daily is also an excellent way to relieve tightness.

Four Exercises To Help Relieve Lower Back

Did you know that certain exercises can help you strengthen and loosen your glute muscles while also relieving lower back pain? Below are four exercises that can help you achieve these goals.

1. Seated Figure Four Stretch

  1. Sit in a chair with a straight spine and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Cross your right leg over your left leg and place your hands on your shins.
  3. Slowly lean forward to feel a gentle stretch in your right glute and hip area.
  4. Hold this position for 5 deep breaths, then switch to your left leg.

Expert Tip: Be careful not to push too hard and cause discomfort or pain. Do this stretch daily to increase flexibility.

2. Glute Bridge

Glute Bridge for Back Pain

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your feet hip-width distance apart and gently contract your ab muscles.
  3. Gently breathe out while keeping your abs contracted, and then lift your hips up and off the floor.
  4. Gently contract your glute (butt muscles), and don’t lift your hips past the point of comfort.
  5. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds, inhale, and slowly lower yourself back to your starting position.

Expert Tip: Avoid lifting your butt too high up off the floor.

View our step by step Glute Bridge tutorial.

3. Seated Hip Abduction With Theraband

  1. Start by sitting on the floor and placing the theraband around your calves.
  2. Bend your knees and rest your feet on the floor.
  3. Position your hands slightly behind you. Ensure that your back is straight, and press your legs out to the sides as you externally rotate your hips.
  4. Bring your legs back together in a gentle and controlled manner. Repeat this exercise 12 to 15 times.

Expert Tip: Ensure you start with a light-strength theraband before moving on to a stronger one.

4. Standing Figure-Four Stretch

  1. To do this exercise, stand with one hand on a chair.
  2. Cross one leg over your knee, making a “four” shape, and sit your hips back.
  3. Keep your upper body tall and your core engaged.
  4. Hold this pose for a few seconds and then switch to the other leg.

Expert Tip: Avoid lowering too low into the figure four position, as this can cause knee pain and further aggravate your lower back pain.

Still Experiencing Back Pain? Time To See An Exercise Physiologist!

If you struggle with persistent pain, it may be time to seek expert advice! Before starting any new exercise regimen, especially if you’re dealing with lower back pain or other health issues, it’s essential to consult with a qualified physical therapist, such as an Exercise Physiologist.

Your safety is always the top priority, particularly when managing pain through exercise. If you experience any unusual or severe pain while working out, don’t hesitate to hit the pause button and seek guidance from a qualified professional.

Disclaimer

This series does not serve as specific medical advice, and should be viewed as educational ONLY. Chronic pain is an individual and complex experience, and as such, any treatment needs to be tailored to the individual. Always seek advice from a relevant medical professional before undertaking any treatment or exercise program.

 

Struggling with pain, weakness, balance or other physical issues holding you back?

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