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How to Fix Stiff Hips or Low Back (According to a Physical Therapist)

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

Let’s go through a quick anatomy lesson.

Your hips are connected to your spine, specifically at your sacrum. The joint that is made where your hip and your sacrum meet is called your sacroiliac joint or SI joint.

Your hip is made up of your ilium and your femur to create a ball and socket joint which means it can move in all three planes, just like the shoulder. There is a capsule around your hip joint that helps hold it together and this capsule can get tight causing stiffness.

When we experience stiffness in our hips, it can also lead to strain at the spine and vice versa. Sometimes, an individual will have tight hips and too much mobility in their lower spine and other times they will both be stiff and limit your motion.

So How Do I Fix This?

Many, many people struggle with stiffness in their hips and/or low back. One of the first steps to finding relief of hip/low back pain or stiffness is stretching and mobilizing the joints. There are several stretches that you can do on your own at home to assist in gaining mobility. A few of my favorite include:

  • Figure 4 Stretch: Stretching your hip into external rotation to assist with crossing your legs, putting on socks/shoes, or playing with your kids on the floor.

  • ½ Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch: Stretching the front of your hip which gets tight when we do a lot of sitting or if we stand with an increased arch in our low back.

  • Knee to Opposite Shoulder Stretch: Bringing your knee towards your opposite shoulder and then pulling your knee or thigh with your hands helps to stretch the back of your hip and low back.

How Can I Help You?

Mobilization, along with the stretching you can do at home, will help to increase your range of motion and decrease the strain at your hips and low back. The best results are seen when these are done in conjunction and consistently.

There are a couple ways to generally mobilize your hip at home, but it will never be as specific as what my hands can do. Here are a few examples of hip mobilizations:

  • Inferior glides: In order to bring your knee up towards your chest, you need your femur to glide down towards your feet or inferior. Grab a strong resistance band or belt/strap to complete these mobilizations.

  • Lateral glides: Using the same band, belt, or strap you can mobilize your hip away from your midline to increase range of motion with internal rotation and crossing your leg over.

What Are You Waiting For???

If you are feeling like stiffness is keeping you from doing what you love or playing to the best of your ability, then working together is a great option for you. Click this link to read my post "3 Reasons Why You Need a Physical Therapist in Your Life." We can work together to increase your joint mobility and make sure each joint is moving like it should so that you can move as you should!

Make the leap, schedule a FREE consult, and let’s get you moving better! Click here to schedule!

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