The Importance of Gluteus Medius Strengthening for Managing Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is the leading contributor of disability among individuals. People suffering from lower back pain often present with a dysfunction of the muscles of the lumbopelvic-hip complex specifically weakness of the Gluteus Medius muscle. The gluteus medius is one of the three muscle of the gluteal complex (gluteus maximus, gluteal minimus and gluteal medius). It originates at the posterior aspect of the pelvis and inserts on the femur bone. The Gluteus Medius is a main stabilizing structure that helps steady your pelvis while you walk. Gluteal Medius weakness is suggested to contribute to reduced spinal and pelvic stability which can lead to an uneven distribution of pressure on intervertebral discs and subsequent loading in the lumbar joints contributing to the development of lower back pain. Thus, strengthening the gluteus medius muscle and eliminating trigger points can be an important part of the multidisciplinary management of your lower back pain ! A licensed physical therapist can help you develop a personalized exercise program directed at strengthening this key stabilizing muscle and help reduce the stress on your lower back.

By: Lisa Scarlino PT, DPT,ATC

Reference: Sadler, S., Cassidy, S., Peterson, B. et al. Gluteus medius muscle function in people with and without low back pain: a systematic review. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 20, 463 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-019-2833-4

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