The short answer to this is yes, tight hips can cause pain in the lower back. We can dig a little deeper into this question to shed light on when it becomes a larger factor in causing and slowing recovery of a painful condition or episode.
Mechanical lower back (that is nothing is broken or torn) is most commonly the result of one of two things. The first is from underuse or being sedentary. The second is overuse or repetitive use. The latter will more likely be affected by lack of motion in the hips. Our body is smart in that if it can’t get motion from one joint it will take it from another. The hip and low back relationship is a perfect example of that. The hip joint is meant to have a tremendous amount of motion. When the joint is restricted or tight the body may compensate by relying on more motion from the lower spine. Over time this could result in symptoms. Some good examples of this could include a golfer or a throwing athlete who rely on a lot of hip mobility (among other things) to swing or throw. Another example is simply walking. Walking only requires about 15 degrees of hip and pelvic rotation, which nowhere close to full motion but it is often found that that much restriction exists in some low back cases. This hip and back relationship is a perfect example of why we always look above and below the area of pain when evaluating. In cases where the hip is a contributing factor to low back, treatment to that area must be employed to fully resolve the condition.
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