Hip rotation and low back pain

In a study performed in 2008 by Van Dillen and co-workers they found that people who participated in rotatory sports with low back pain had decreased hip rotation and more asymmetrical findings that people without low back pain (Van Dillen, Bloom, Gombatto, & Susco, 2008).

Hip rotation was examined in the prone position with the knee flexed to 90 degrees. We all know that there are many ways of measuring hip rotation with different results. Regardless, they found reduction and asymmetry of hip rotation.

This was not a prospective study, so the correlation is not causation. It can be one of those chicken or the egg arguments. Hip rotation could be reduced secondary to pain, or the reduction could have caused low back pain. The mechanisms and relationships between these two variables can be many, and the discussion is open for what system or mechanism that is responsible for this. Regardless this study shows that there is a connection between hip rotatory mobility and low back pain.

The next time you see a patient with low back pain, hip rotation might be something you want to check, especially if they are participating in rotational sports. That is what Van Dillen and co-workers found.

Jessica, Ali and Ola


Van Dillen, L. R., Bloom, N. J., Gombatto, S. P., & Susco, T. M. (2008). Hip rotation range of motion in people with and without low back pain who participate in rotation-related sports. Phys Ther Sport, 9(2), 72-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2008.01.002