A lot has been said about the relationship between poor core stability / strength and low back pain and there is no doubt about this link.
What we wanted to discuss here, however, is the strong connection between back pain and glute dysfunction
In modern western societies people have become increasingly sedentary, with significantly increased time spent in sitting. This is a position in which your glutes aren’t activating at all and therefore they become significantly weaker over time.
This correlates with a high incidence of low back pain in western populations.
In comparison, indigenous populations in Africa – particularly the Khoisan people – have no reported incidence of low back pain. Interestingly, they spend minimal time in sitting, have high activity levels and genetically have larger glutes. It would appear that this is more than just a coincidence.
While there are obviously other factors and variabilities that need to be considered when looking at causes of low back pain for each individual, we can see from the examples above that there definitely does appear to be a strong correlation between weak glutes and low back pain.
These findings are also consistent with what we find in our clinic. Many clients of ours who suffer with low back pain also have significantly weaker or poor activation through their glutes.
Stay tuned for our next post, where we will go through some simple tests to see how well your glutes are working and some exercises you can do to improve their strength and activation.
- Ui-Cheol Jeong, MS, Jae-Heon Sim, MS, Cheol-Yong Kim, PT, PhD, Gak Hwang-Bo, PhD,and Chan-Woo Nam, PT, MS. THE EFFECTS OF GLUTEUS MUSCLE STRENGTHENING EXERCISE AND LUMBAR STABILIZATION EXERCISE ON LUMBAR MUSCLE STRENGTH AND BALANCE IN CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN PATIENTS. J Phys Ther Sci. 2015 Dec; 27 (12): 3813-3816
- Sang wk Lee, MSc, PT and Suhn Yeop Kim, Phd, PT. EFFECTS OF HIP EXERCISES FOR LOW-BACK PAIN PATIENTS WITH LUMBAR INSTABILITY. J Phys Ther Sci. 2015 Feb; 27 (2): 345-348
- Kathryn J. Bewyer, MPT,* Dennis C. Bewyer, PT,* Dana Messenger, D.O.,† and Colleen M. Kennedy, M.D.† PILOT DATA: ASSOCIATION BETWEEN GLUTEUS MEDIUS WEAKNESS AND LOW BACK PAIN DURING PREGNANCY. Iowa Orthop J. 2009; 29: 97–99.