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Ways to avoid back pain: Part 1

Tight hip flexors


The hip flexors (‘Psoas’ and ‘Illiacus’) are the muscles at the

front of our hips. They attach to the hip at one end and the lumbar spine at the other end, and they allow us to pick our

legs up when walking.


When we sit a lot, or spend a lot of time bent over (e.g.

office workers, occupational drivers, roofers) the hip flexor

fibres start to contract. Over time, this causes long-term shortening of the muscles. This can go on for a long time

with no problems, until suddenly we attempt extend our hip

or rotate our spines, such as a dash across a busy road, or

twist and reach for something, and the shorted muscle pulls hard on the joints of lumbar spine. This effectively locks the joints into an uncomfortable position and hey presto: back pain.


Lunge stretch


You can help yourself by regularly stretching and maintaining length in your hip flexors and fronts of your thighs. Lunge stretches are a great way to get started.

Or watch this You Tube Video here


Keeping your tailbone tucked under to protect your lower back, hold this stretch gently for 15-30 seconds x 3, both sides


Stretch daily, or at least 4-5 x per week for maximum benefit. You’ll walk taller and feel great!


As you get more comfortable with the stretch over time, begin to hold for longer: 45 - 60 seconds to increase the stretch in the fascia (the connective tissue surrounding the muscle) which is also vital for shortened hip flexors.


Standing stretches


If you want to build on the work you’ve just done: for the quadriceps (front of thighs) add this stretch as well. Again, tuck your tail bone in to protect your back.


Hold and repeat as for the hip flexor stretch above.


Other things that are good for you


  • Stand up more: Take frequent breaks from your desk or from driving and take a moment to stretch gently

  • Get a stand-up desk: they can benefit your overall health as well as your hip flexors!

  • Do regular Yoga and Pilates to get your whole body moving: try Yoga/Pilates Apps, yoga or pilates videos online or find a local class

  • And again: don’t forget to stretch your hip flexors out daily. It only takes a couple of minutes

Find out about whether walking is really good for back pain in Ways to avoid back pain: Part 2


If you need help with back pain, pelvic pain, hip pain or pain or stiffness in other joints or muscles, contact info@bodyforlifeosteopathy.co.uk or call 07710 466880.

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©2019 by Alex Davies, Registered Osteopath. Trading as Body for Life Osteopathy