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Fix Your Hip Extension, Fix Your Back Pain

Take Back Control Of Your Body.

Lower back pain is the leading cause of pain and disability around the world. A whopping 9/10 people experiencing back pain in their life. You would think we should know a little more about why it happens and how to get rid of it? The problem lays in the complexity of the human body. You are driving one incredible compensation machine. If you lack hip extension, your body figures out a way to make up for it by getting a little bit extra out of the surrounding joints.

Quite often the painful area is not the injured area at all. More often than not, the painful area is actually the area working the hardest. Health care professionals have focused heavily on the site of the pain and not on the actually cause. Slowly practitioners are coming around and beginning to see the body is a whole. Not just as a sum of its parts.

Low Back Pain Sufferers: 10* Less Hip Extension Than Those Without Back Pain.

The next group of joints up the chain is the lower back. A recent study by Roach et al published in the journal of sport and physical therapy found that the average hip extension in people with lower back pain was – 4.14*. The average hip extension in those without lower back pain was 6.78*. That means that people with lower back pain generally have a 10* loss in hip extension than those without lower back pain.

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Why Hip Extension is so Important:

The Body naturally wants to stand upright so that the eyes can see what is going on around it. So if your hips loose 10* of hip extension. You keep a neutral spine, then you’d would spend the whole day walking around looking at the ground. As the ground gets very boring, and the brain likes to be stimulated. You compensate to keep your body upright.

The first thing your body does is arch in your lower back. This 10* increase in your lower back arch leads to increased pressure being placed on the joints in your lower back and increases wear and tear.


How To Fix Hip Extension and Fix Your Back Pain:

The main muscles that limit hip extension are the Hip Flexors and the Quads. The main muscles that extend or open up your hip are the Gluteals. In order to normalise hip extension you first need to release or lengthen the quads. Next, to make any long lasting change you then need to strengthen the glutes. This allows them to hold your hips in extension. which is their open position. This will take a lot of stress off of your lower back.

Enter the Couch stretch: the video above depicts the classic hip flexor stretch with a couple of little tips on how to perform it more effectively and target the specific areas that actually need stretching.

  • If it is a little aggressive for you, you can leave the back foot on the floor.
  • If you get a little knee pain, chuck a towel or cushion underneath your knee.

Keeping Your Hip Open:

Once you have returned the hips to a normal resting position. You can then begin training the glutes to work more efficiently. To wake up the glutes and get them firing on all cylinders perform the single glute bridge with hamstring lock: from our 28-day mobility challenge.

It helps to strengthen the glutes while also engaging the core, the added bonus of this variation is it doesn’t require any equipment which means you have no excuse for not doing it. If the single leg variation is to much to begin with you can try squeezing your thigh close or tight to your chest, or begin with the both legs on the ground and work up to the single leg variation.

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  1. Roach etal, 2015: Passive hip range of motion is reduced in active subjects with chronic low back pain compared to controls