Did you know that the adductor muscles can cause lower back pain when they are not functioning correctly? When we study the traditional role of the adductors (i.e., inner thigh muscles) we learn that their job is to bring the leg toward the midline of the body and rotate it outward. However, during real life activities when the foot is in contact with the ground (i.e., walking, running, playing sports, etc.) the adductors function very differently, and it they are not working as they should, can cause hip and lower back pain.
The Link Between the Adductor Muscles and Lower Back Pain
When the foot is in contact with the ground the adductors (which originate on the pelvis and attach to the inside of the leg) lengthen like bungee cords to decelerate movement stress to the pelvis and lower back as we move sideways, forwards and backwards (see image).
When the pelvis/sacrum and lower back has to move from one side of the body to the other (such as what happens during a golf swing, when ice skating and also moving from side to side to hit groundstrokes in tennis) the adductors lengthen under tension to control movements of these parts of the body (see image).
Additionally, when the leg travels behind the body (i.e., into extension) during movements like walking and running the adductors lengthen to slow down the leg/hip and pelvis (see image).
If the adductors are unable to lengthen effectively during these movements, due to myofascial restrictions and/or dysfunction, then additional stress is experienced by the major joints and other connective tissues that the adductors help protect (i.e., hip, sacroiliac joints and intervertebral discs of the lumbar spine). Over time, this can lead to pain of the entire lumbo-pelvic hip region.
Fitness, exercise and health professionals interesting in learning more about anatomy, and how muscles and other soft tissue structures affect pain and dysfunction, should check out Module 2 (i.e., Understanding Muscles and Movement) of The BioMechanics Method Corrective Exercise Specialist certification program or by clicking on the link below.