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Could lower back pain be related to glutes?

It's only when we experience lower back pain that we realise just how much work this part of the body does in supporting our everyday movements; from lifting heavy objects to sitting at a desk all day, our lower back is always busy and under strain. But could it be related to your glutes?

weak glutes lower back

Sometimes, it can also be difficult to understand the source of our lower back pain; while it’s often linked to a muscle strain or an injury to one of the discs that cushion the vertebrae, common causes also include poor posture, improper lifting techniques, stress, and sitting for long periods of time. But can sore glutes be related to lower back pain? Let’s take a look.

What counts as lower back pain?

Generally speaking, lower back pain refers to any discomfort that can be felt in the lumbar (or lower) region of your spine. It can manifest as a sharp, shooting pain or a dull ache, and can range from mild to severe in intensity. You can also experience tightness in your hip flexors, which is a sign that your glutes aren’t sufficiently activated – this is one way to determine whether or not your glutes are the source of your back problems.

Remember, if your lower back pain is severe – make sure you speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

When is lower back pain related to the glutes?

There are a few instances in which the glutes can be the source of your lower back pain. Weak glute muscles, for example, put extra strain on the lower back and can contribute to chronic conditions such as sciatica. Additionally, tight hips caused by weak glutes can cause misalignment of the spine and lead to disc bulging or herniation.

Don’t forget that your glutes are closely connected to your lower back, meaning that any problems with your glutes can manifest as lower back pain. For example, weak glutes can cause strength imbalances in your body, meaning that your other muscles are overworked; if your glutes are unable to pull their weight in supporting your body during exertion, this can put excess strain on your back. The result? Lower back pain, reduced strength capacities, and reduced performance during exercise.

This is also known as ‘sleepy glutes‘, and can occur in those with sedentary lifestyles as well as long-distance runners.

That said, lower back pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, not just those related to your glutes. Many times, lower back pain is due to muscle strain, poor posture or sitting for long periods of time in the same position.

If you do happen to determine that your glutes are the source of your lower back pain, there are ways to strengthen your glute muscles and reduce this discomfort over time. Stretches such as hip flexors and clamshell movements can help to activate your glute muscles and promote flexibility, while regular strength training including exercises like squats, deadlifts, and lunges, can also be beneficial in strengthening the surrounding muscles, resulting in less strain on your back and relief for persistent lower back pain.

Signs that you have weak glutes

If you suspect that your glutes may be the source of your lower back pain, then there are a few things to look out for. Here are some common tell-tale signs of weak glutes:

Poor posture

Weak glutes can cause your spine to become misaligned, leading to an increased curve in your lower back and a hunched posture. If you find it difficult to maintain good posture, it may be an indication that your glutes are weak.

Pain or tightness in the hips

Tight hip flexors, caused by weak glutes, can put additional strain on the lower back and lead to pain or discomfort in the area. Regular stretching and strength training can help to reduce this tension.

Pain when sitting

If you struggle to sit for long periods of time without experiencing some degree of discomfort, then this could be a sign that your glutes are weak and unable to support your lower back properly. Try moving around more where possible if your job involves sitting at a desk.

Knee pain

Weak glutes can cause imbalances in the legs and lower body, resulting in pain or discomfort in the knee area. If you notice knee pain when performing cardio, walking at an incline, or running, sleepy glutes might be the culprit.

When is lower back pain not related to glutes?

As we already mentioned, lower back pain isn’t always necessarily linked to weak or inactive glutes. One easy way to test whether or not your lower back pain is related to your glutes is by testing your glute strength by performing various exercises that target these muscles.

You can do this by performing a few glute isolation exercises, such as glute bridges, to check whether or not your glutes are sufficiently activated. If you don’t notice any difference in your performance, then it’s likely that your lower back pain is not related to weak or tight glutes.

How do you relieve lower back glute pain?

In order to address lower back pain caused by glutes, it’s important to focus on strengthening your glutes and addressing any imbalances – but you’ll also need to tackle re-activating your glutes, which can take a few weeks.

To start, make sure you are performing exercises that target the different muscles in your glutes, such as squats, hip bridges, and lunges. Perform these without added weights at first – you don’t want to risk injury or muscle strain.

Additionally, floor and mat exercises such as fire hydrants, clamshells, and donkey kicks can all help to activate the glutes – just make sure you’re squeezing your glutes during these movements to fire the muscles and get them working again.

Finally, make sure you are practising good posture and taking regular breaks from sitting for prolonged periods of time. If you work in a sedentary job, get up from your desk or seat every 2 hours; you can even squeeze your glutes while sitting at your desk (yes, really!) to prevent them from going into hibernation mode.


I’m Chloe – a body confidence writer here at House of Peach! I help women to feel fabulous in the body they’re in and feel amazing in gym wear – regardless of their body shape and type. Unleash Your Peach.

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