Lower back pain is one of the most common and pervasive conditions affecting people today. It’s the second most common cause of disability in the U.S., resulting in lost workdays and an estimated 100 to 200 billion dollars annually. Offering efficient, effective treatment for this pain is imperative. However, many practitioners fail to identify the real source of dysfunction, which often stems from the hip.  

One of the core truths that we emphasize at Gray Institute® is that nothing in the body operates in isolation. The body is an interconnected whole, so dysfunction in one area will likely cause dysfunction elsewhere. Movement professionals must be able to identify the root cause of these Chain Reactions. However, we’re rarely given the tools to do so in traditional education.

This blog helps address that education gap. Keep reading to learn more about back pain and how looking to the hip for answers can make a difference for your patients or clients.

How the Hip Relates to the Back

The hip is a ball and socket joint that has extraordinary power and motion in all three planes. But, when any of our hip’s movements are limited, whether that’s because of injury, inactivity, or dysfunction, our bodies respond, and the motion will go somewhere else. When faced with dysfunction, the hip automatically compensates for its inability to move correctly by transferring abnormal motion to its “neighbors.”

For many people, this transfer results in persistent low back pain. For example, chronically shortened hip flexors can pull on the pelvis and hyperextend the lumbar spine, causing muscle imbalances in the low back that cause pain and dysfunction.

What makes addressing the issue even more complicated? Traditional wisdom suggests we only consider pain in isolation, ignoring any other factors that could impact a patient or client’s experience.  

RELATED: Is Sitting the New Smoking? Understanding Hip Dysfunction

What Makes the Gray Institute Approach to Back Pain Unique

For over 40 years, the Gray Institute team has used the truths of human movement to help people suffering from pain, dysfunction, and injury heal. We believe in assessing and treating people as individuals, rather than viewing their injuries formulaically. That’s why Applied Functional Science® often provides a deeper level of insight than “traditional” methods.

One of our cornerstone courses for identifying dysfunction and abnormal movement is our Certification in Applied Functional Science (CAFS). CAFS gives you the tools to develop custom assessment, treatment, and training programs tailor-made for each patient or client. It’s the first certification to empower you with the knowledge and skills you need to create a treatment plan based on individual abilities and goals.

This approach shouldn’t be radical. And yet, people are still surprised when injuries heal more efficiently and effectively when they’re put in context, rather than treated in isolation or on a table. This is what Gray Institute is all about: meeting people where they’re at, getting to the root of the issue, and working together to create a personalized plan to help them achieve their goals.

RELATED: Ways Personal Trainers Can Plan More Effective Workouts

Ready to Learn More? Enroll in CAFS Today

If you want to learn more about the body’s natural Chain Reactions, how the hip impacts back pain, and how to create personalized treatment plans, it’s time to consider enrolling in Gray Institute’s CAFS course. This course is specifically designed for movement practitioners in all subsections of the industry. No matter your experience, goals, or niche corner of the movement world, CAFS will give you the tools you need to assess and identify dysfunction and create a personalized corrective exercise plan. To learn more, simply reach out to us for a free consultation, or visit the course page to learn more.



Freburger, J. K., Holmes, G. M., Agans, R. P., Jackman, A. M., Darter, J. D., Wallace, A. S., Castel, L. D., Kalsbeek, W. D., & Carey, T. S. (2009). The rising prevalence of chronic low back pain. Archives of internal medicine169(3), 251–258. https://doi.org/10.1001/archinternmed.2008.543