Lower back and hip pain can be a complicated issue, there are several large muscle groups in the area that are pulling the hips in different directions.
Lower back muscles are smaller than the bigger muscle groups and usually tighten up and produce pain as a result.
If muscles attaching to the front of the hip are overly tight they usually pull the hips forward causing the lower back to arch inwards exaggerating the normal curve in that part of the spine. This keeps the lower back muscles in a contracted or shortened state.
If muscles attaching to the back of the hip are overly tight they usually pull the hips backwards causing the lower back to straighten decreasing the normal curve in that part of the spine. This keeps the lower back muscles in a stretched or lengthened state.
Either way ends up being bad, once you start trying to move those muscles they will be unhappy and they will let you know with pain varying from a dull ache to a sharp shooting pain that leaves you unable to stand upright.
Stretches to reduce tightness in the big muscle groups:
#1 Front of the leg (Rectus Femoris and Hip Flexors)
Starting in the “lunge position” both legs bent at the knee 90degrees one foot flat on the ground, one knee on the ground directly below the torso. Push your hips forward while keeping the knee and front foot stationary and keeping your upper body upright. You should feel this stretch in the front of the hip.
To advance the stretch pull the posterior foot up towards the glutes remembering to punch the hips forward and keep the upper body uprights.
#2 Back of the leg (Hamstrings)
The hamstrings are pretty straight forward to stretch, keep your leg straight and then reach for your toes. There are several different ways to do this stretch and it is recommended that you do one leg at a time so you can isolate each leg giving your muscles a better stretch.
#3 Back of the hips (Glutes)
Like the hamstrings there are a few different ways to stretch the glute muscles. The one I recommend is easily adjustable so you can change the stretch to suit your muscle on the go, as the muscle changes so can the stretch. Starting in the push-up position bend one leg up towards your chest and position the leg so the knee is towards the centre of the chest. Lower the body to the ground so you are lying with one leg folded up under your torso. This is the easiest point in the stretch and you may or may not feel any stretch, to advance the stretch move the foot of the bent leg out to the side (the opposite side to where is usually is, if it’s your right foot you will be moving it towards the left) you can adjust the amount of stretch by adjusting the movement of the foot.
The idea behind stretching is to keep the muscles of the body in a neutral position, if everything is balanced you should not experience any pain.