Low Back Pain and Thigh Dysfunction

Feb 18, 2021

 by Karina Wait

Low back pain can be attributed to numerous different things, some options are below 

  • Limited Hip rotation 
  • Limited Hip extension 
  • Low back weakness
  • Core weakness
  • Stress
  • Sleep
  • Hamstring tightness
  • Quad tightness
  • Disc dysfunction 
  • Inner thigh weakness/tension 
  • Poor lifting habits 
  • And more...

This is why it's crucial to cross off all variables before assuming the worse. Nevertheless, this blog will be talking about your abductors and adductors (thigh muscles). 

The muscles in the medial compartment of the thigh are collectively known as the hip adductors. There are five muscles in this group; gracilis, obturator externus, adductor brevis, adductor longus and adductor magnus. 

The main action of the adductor group of muscles is to adduct the thigh at the hip joint. The adductor longus muscle also participates in external/lateral rotation and flexion of the thigh. 

The adductors help to stabilize the stance while standing and also have an important role in balancing the body on the lower limb during walking.

The hip adductors are a group of five muscles located in the medial compartment of the thigh. These muscles are the adductor longusadductor brevisadductor magnusgracilis, and pectineus

As their name suggests, the main action of this group of muscles is to produce adduction of the thigh at the hip joint, in which the thigh is pulled toward or past the median plane. 

Additionally, they contribute to the stabilization and balance of the pelvis and body posture while standing, walking, or running. 

So now that you understand the anatomy of the thigh muscles? How can they contribute to low back pain? Well, if the adductors are unable to lengthen effectively during movements because of myofascial restrictions and/or dysfunction, this can lead to pain in the entire low back area. 

Coincidentally, hip abductor weakness can cause low back pain due to hip displacement. If this muscle is weak or inhibited, the opposite pelvis will drop when a single leg stance is performed. Functionally, a single-leg stance is performed whenever someone walks. A weak gluteus medius will result in the opposite hip dropping during the gait cycle and can cause an increase in low back pain and hip pain with walking.


What can you do to help build these muscles? 

Below is a video of a few exercises that you can do. 

  1. Banded Adduction
  2. Banded Abduction 
  3. Sumo Squats
  4. Cossack squats 
  5. Side plank
  6. Star side plank
  7. Banded monster walks 
  8. Side clamshells
  9. Quadruped hip extension
  10. Quadruped Fire hydrants
  11. Single leg glute bridge

I'd recommend completing between 3-4 sets of each movement for 12-15 reps. With the side plank and side star plank, hold for 10s and increase as you get stronger.