Can Hip Flexor Stretches Help Lower Back Pain?
Your hip flexors can be a major cause of lower back pain and sciatica. Therefore, doing hip flexor stretches can help relieve lower back pain and sciatica.
In this video, I'm going to show you four different ways to stretch your hip flexors. Additionally, you'll learn how to determine IF you need to stretch your hip flexors and which of the hip flexor stretches may be best for your particular problem.
Do You Need To Do Hip Flexor Stretches?
How do you know if you even need to do hip flexor stretches for lower back pain?
The way to know if you need to stretch your hip flexors is through a simple test called the Thomas test.
You don't want to stretch a muscle just because it hurts, but only if it's stiff or short.
So to test the length of your hip flexors, lay on the side of a bed and pull one knee up to your chest. Then let the other leg drop off the side of your bed, keeping your lower back flat on the mattress.
Ideally, your leg should fall all the way down to the edge of the bed with your knee bent close to 90 degrees.
If your leg doesn't fall all the way down to the mattress, then that's an indication that that you could probably benefit from doing hip flexor stretches.
Supine Hip Flexor Stretch
The first variation of the hip flexor stretch is just like this test.
If you find that you have some stiffness in your hip flexors, you can stretch it just by letting your leg drop off the edge of the bed and hang there for about a minute.
The important part of this is keeping your back all the way flat against the mattress. You can do by keeping the other knee pulled up tightly against your chest. This version of the stretch is best if you can't kneel.
However, I can't emphasize enough the importance of keeping your lower back flat. Doing this versions of the hip flexor stretch can actually make your lower back pain worse if you don't keep your opposite knee pulled tightly to your chest.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
If you can kneel, this version of the hip flexor stretch is easier to do. You can do it kneeling on the floor or bed.
To do this version of the hip flexor stretch, kneel with the leg that you want to stretch flat on the ground. You can use a pillow under your knee or kneel on a bed if you have pain when kneeling on your knee.
Put the other foot out in front of you so that your hip and knee are bent roughly 90 degrees to start.
Next, roll your pelvis underneath you to keep your back flat. When you do this, you may immediately start to feel a stretch in your hip flexors as well in the front of your thigh.
This version stretches both the hip flexors that come from your back down your hip as well as stretches one of your quadriceps muscles called your rectus femoris.
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Standing Hip Flexor Stretch With Chair
If you have trouble kneeling or who won't take the time to lay down to do the stretch, you can also stretch your hip flexors in standing. The disadvantage of stretching your hip flexors in standing is that doing so doesn't stretch the rectus femoris. It only stretches the part of your hip flexors that doesn't cross your knee (your iliopsoas).
To stretch your hip flexors in standing putting your foot up on a chair. You can also do this standing at the bottom of a staircase and putting your foot on the second or third step.
Again, it's kind of like that test position where you let your leg drop off the side of the bed. However, in this case, you're standing up.
Just like in the other hip flexor stretches, you want to keep your lower back nice and flat. Then lean forward to feel the stretch in the front of the hip.
Standing Hip Flexor Stretch At Wall
The second standing version is where you're going to use a wall for stability. You're going to step forward with the opposite leg as the one you want to stretch.
Roll your pelvis underneath of you just like the kneeling hip flexor stretch above.
Then push your hips toward the wall while keeping your lower back flat until you feel a stretch in the hip flexors of your back leg.
In summary, these are the four ways to stretch your hip flexors:
- Supine Hip Flexor Stretch (laying on back)
- Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
- Standing Hip Flexor Stretch with Chair
- Standing Hip Flexor Stretch with Wall
If you need more help to relieve back pain, sciatica, or other problems resulting from tight hip flexors, we'd be happy to help you here at More 4 Life.
Just tap the button below to request an appointment with one of our specialist physical therapists.