Is Your Lower Back Causing Your Knee Pain?

When you experience knee pain the first place you would think to look it at the knees…

That would make sense now wouldn’t it?

But is this really the case? Let’s take your car as an example. You are driving down the road and the oil light goes on in your car…so do you think that the oil light is the problem? No, of course not, that would be silly, however when you are just looking at your knees when you have knee pain you might be doing the very same thing!

So now let’s look under the hood, so to speak…

Think of your body like a chain and you have heard the old saying, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” So when your knees begin hurting, we immediately think that the weakest link is in the knees. However, let’s for a moment consider that the tension in the chain may have moved to a different point along the chain. The part of that chain that I am talking about is your lower back. Attached to your lower back are the two largest and strongest muscles in your body, your psoas muscles. When these muscles are pulling really tight they pull forward and down on your lower back creating tension in your pelvis. As this happens guess what part of your body needs to pick up the slack?

Yep that’s right! Your Knees!

All the pressure now is forced into your knees, your meniscus must pick up the slack, and as this begins to wear and tear it causes KNEE PAIN…

See the picture in this post. It is a standard nerve function chart used by chiropractors to pin point areas of the body that hurt and how they correspond with the spine. This is a very useful tool for any knee treatment protocol to take the pressure off of the knee and redistribute the tension to the rest of the body relieving knee pain.

Click here to see the nerve function chart.

So if your knee treatment is only looking at strengthening the muscles in your legs to help with your knee pain...
1.) Your knee treatment is not taking into consideration the "bigger picture" of what is going on in your body creating your knee pain to begin with
...AND
2.) Your knee treatment is really not going to help you in the long run...(Aka "job security" for anyone who is only looking at your knee to solve your knee pain)

In essence when you begin to strengthen the legs to address your knee pain you are essentially re-enforcing an already dysfunctional tension pattern in your body causing your knees to hurt.

Don't take my word for it. Try it yourself. Stand up straight...see how your knees feel...walk around the room a little...go up and down some steps paying extra close attention to your knees and how they feel...

Now try the very same exercise bent over (as if your psoas muscle is tight). See how your knees feel...walk around the room (bent over)...go up and down some steps bent over and see how your knees feel...

If you already have knee pain when you try the first exercise there is a good chance that your knee pain will be reduced...

The key is to lock this functional tension pattern in place and make it permanent so the tension in your body is balanced the way it is supposed to be...

Approaching your knee pain any other way is cheating yourself and depriving the quality of life for you and your loved ones...

Comments

  1. I am just writing out of concern and at my last options.. my mom has been suffering with chronic back pain for over 6 yrs now..the doctors she has been seeing are just sending her home and patching her up for the time being. She has had surgery that placed six screws in her back…well as of now im fed up with it because she isnt her self any more she wakes up to know she is going to be in pain..i need answers and not just” well theres nothing we can do” because i know there is something out there..So im requesting if anyone has any advice plz give I am willing to listen to any thing at this point…I just want my mom back!!!!

    • Asia – I would go do a little internet research and find a local Osteopath that specializes in manual manipulation and get your mother over to them. Good luck! Bill

      • Mike Rossi says:

        How about a chiropractor? Do you recommend them or aren’t they As qualified ? Thanks.

        • Knee Pain Support Team says:

          Hi Mike,

          Thank you for your patience. To better address your question, I have contacted you via email.

          -Mimi

    • Asia, tell your mom to pick up a book, I think it’s called Relieving Back Pain “The Mind – Body Connection” or something to that extent. It’s by Dr. John Sarno and did me wonders. God bless.

    • Asia – any good news with your mom? – Please keep us posted… -Bill

    • Ann Bonari says:

      I don’t know if you know the simple things…Here are a few things that I do for my pain..It’s unavoidable but some things help. Heat patches from the store…I don’t use the whole big patch at once but I cut it up and use it on several places. Usually when I am hurting at night I do this and wake up feeling so much better rather that waking with pain. The heatpad does wonders…..Medicated heat rubs,,Even ice pouches from walmart, not so bulky and I can lay on them easily. Sometimes pain pills wont cut it , so I use advil or aleve which is ten times better than tylenol….I hope this helps some..

  2. rose hernandez says:

    Hi myy name is rose im having sharp pain in both of myy knees every time it gets cold or i walk down stairs both of myy knees hurt very bad im looking for help to find out what can i do to get help i really need it thanks

    • Hi Rose, Thanks so much for reaching out. There can be several reasons why this sort of pain can happen. I’m really happy to help you with your journey to better health. I sincerely want to be there for you each step of the way.

      Here’s some valuable information to help get you started relieving your pain and working with your knees in the “Comfort Zone”

      Also, here’s a link to further information regarding knee pain:

      If this information does not help significantly within a couple of weeks – let’s go ahead and touch base again at that point. Just go to my site and schedule a free 30 minute session.

      Wishing you health,
      Bill

      • Been having lower back pain for 6 plus months horrible knee pain Dr gave me baclofen dont work also have had herpy chiropractor work epidural steroid injections nothing is helping I literally feel helpless

        • Knee Pain Support Team says:

          Hi Liana,

          I have contacted you via email to obtain more information about your situation.

          Regards,

          Mimi|Customer Support

          • I have the same thing going on for about 5 months but only one of my knees are in pain along with my lower back. I’m in so much pain especially in the morning and the end of every day:\ I have done everything and anything for the pain and nothing. Cani u help? Because I just don’t understand it ..

          • Knee Pain Support Team says:

            Hello Marta,

            Thank you for reaching out to us! I suggest booking a free 30 min consultation/knee evaluation with Bill to discuss what your experiencing. Bill will be able to provide great advice and recommendations/solutions for whats going on. If your interested, please click on the link below to complete the consultation form and schedule a date and time that is best for you. Feel free to reach out to me for further assistance.

            http://www.thekneepainguru.com/lp/knee-recovery-program/free-introductory-session/questionnaire/

            Kind regards,

            Mimi | Customer Service

  3. Gary Whitehead says:

    I have been suffering with pain or aches in my knees that have been keeping me up at night. I play football and thought it my be that. Im 37 but for years I have suffered lower lumbar back pain on and off. What is the problem my knees? or my back?

  4. Gary Whitehead says:

    I must also add my knees do crack when I walk which I have been told may be a problem with arthritis im at the doctors on the 24th and don’t really know what to say about it do I tell him my knees hurt or my back or both

  5. Fire_Man_04 says:

    Question – I was working out about 6 weeks ago and I did something wrong and have been having pain in my lower right back. It was just a dull pain for a while. I stopped working out thinking it would heal and go away – Well, it comes and goes but is almost always there in some sort. It is hard to bend over and touch the ground and to do squat motions. Now that I have had it for a while I have noticed my right knee is in pain sometimes as well. I have been taking a PM pain mediction at night and it seems to relieve it a little, like when I wake up it is easier to get out of bed and get going. Normal day-to-day activities are generally ok unless I sit down for any period of time longer than 30 seconds. If i sit down and then get up minutes later soemtimes I almost have to walk funny to get the pain to relieve so I can walk normal. Any ideas of what it could be or what I can do to make it better without going to a DR or Choiropractor??

    • Hi,

      Thanks for your question. Please do consult your doctor and keep us posted on what are his views so that we can then accordingly advice you.

      Regards,
      Adam on Behalf of Bill

  6. shahnour says:

    hi, i have trouble feeling back of knees. In the morning after use of toilet when i get up feel it most. it started about 2 months ago. now a day when i get up from chair after sitting lets say 1/2 hours in the office i also feel it. i am male and 39 years of age. please advise what should i do and whats the cause?

    • Hi Shahnour,

      Thanks for the question. Knee pain may occur due to many reasons have you seen any doctor yet? If not than please consult the doctor about it and let me know so that I can assist you with the required advise and appropriate exercises

      Regards
      Adam on Behalf of Bill

  7. Clicking and pain in knee since May now have pain at lower part of my of my back could this pain be related to knee injury.

    • Hi,

      Thanks for your questions. There are many reasons why knee pain is caused. Can you please explain your knee problem in detail? This will allow us to help you further.

      Regards,
      Adam on Behalf of Bill

  8. Kath vincent says:

    Hi,

    I have been having sharp shooting pains in my right knee for at least 7 weeks…. I do have some arthritus in this knee and have had injections on and off for 2 years now… So when my knee stopped me from working recently i really thought it was my knee at fault. i have however just been told thats its my back not my knee that is the issue. My specialist says its a nerve in the muscles that are sending shooting pains through my knees. He says that my body is inbalanced therefore putting extra strain on my already arthritic knee. I just couldnt get my head around this as i dont actually feel much pain in my lower back. Is this normal? I do feel shooting pain in top butt…… Lol. I do however wake everynight to turn over in bed which i have to do by pushing up on my forearms…… Is this all correct for the symptoms i am experiencing? He is sending my for physio. Is there anything i can do for myself before this though.
    Thanks Kath (uk) ps its not sciatica!

  9. I been dealing with this pain in my left lower back region, its a shifting pain that goes from my back to my hip, my knee and sometimes my calf and ankle….
    I have what I thought were stress balls in that region of my back which really bother me…
    I also find it weird that I don’t have this pain when I am standing or walking around work, but instead when I am sitting down or laying awkwardly…
    I really font know what this could be….

    • Hi Rick,

      Thanks for the note. It seems that you have lots of questions and the best thing to do is set up a time to talk so that we can get all your questions answered.
      Please fill out the following short application so we can setup a time to talk…

      http://www.thekneepainguru.com/lp/knee-recovery-program/free-introductory-session/questionnaire/

      Looking forward to speaking with you.

      Regards,
      Adam on Behalf of Bill

    • Penny. AZ says:

      I had the same problem. Pain starting in the back and going down the leg I had to rushed to the ER because I could not stand on my right leg I would fall on the floor in unbearable pain. They did and MRI had found 2 lower bulging disc that was causing all these problems. You might want to have one done to see whats going on. I am having issues noe 2 years after surgery with the pain in the other knee that is coming from my back going to make appointment with the chiropractor see if he can straighten me out I get out of alignment easy.

  10. Thanks for sharing such a nice thinking, article is fastidious, thats why i
    have read it fully

  11. Ok, uhm. I’ve had knee pain on & off tingly, burning & numbness too, sometimes quite painful to the point where I do not want to move, since I was about 5 or 6. I’m 15 now & a few years ago I started getting an extremely sore lower back which has had severe pain & has also been tingly at times. This pain sometimes crawls up my back but mostly radiates into my hip/ pelvis. I’ve been to doctors & a physiotherapist but they all say there’s nothing wrong or it’s just growing pains… But I’m sure pains this bad can’t be nothing please help me.

  12. Oh and I felt a weird click when I bend my knees , sometimes it’s audible but there is a weird swollen kind of liquid bubble that occurs with the pain sometimes, more often than not. And my back feels like something needs to crack into place or something.

  13. Great article. I’ve had knee pain for over a year now stopping me from playing sports or doing any exercise. I was convinced it was my patella tendon based on the symptoms and so was the first physio and knee specialist I went to. Recently I went to another physio who worked on my lower back and a year of pain was instantly gone in half an hour. The lower back was so tight it was pressing down on the nerve which could be felt at my knee. We don’t give the back the attention it really needs. Cheers

  14. Both my knees have bothered me on and off for as long as I can remember but I have always blamed it on volleyball which I play a few times a week. Its a sport that can be pretty hard on your knees. My left knee will swell with squats and such and I was diagnosed with patellar tendinitis. I have quit doing squats since them and my knee has only bothered me from time to time. A few weeks ago while getting into a car my knee just started hurting terribly and was excruciating for about 2-3 days and has continued to hurt with bending. I had an MRI but the findings were not significant. Now today the left side of my lower back hurts like heck. I feel like I am falling apart!! Do you think it could be related?

    • Knee Pain Support Team says:

      Rachelle,

      Thank you for reaching out to us about what your experiencing. The nerves that provide sensation to the knee come from the lower back and also provide hip, leg, and ankle sensation. To better assist you, I have contacted you via email to recommend some great programs for you. Again, thank you for contacting the Knee Pain Guru and I look forward to speaking with you!

      Kind regards,

      Mimi|Customer Support

  15. Hi, I am 27 and have been experiencing knee and lower back pain. Usually it happens after standing or sitting too long. When I am doing a long walk, i always feel pain on my calf and ankle. Frequent pains on the said areas started 4 months ago when I handled a 3-story house construction and have to go up and down the stairs several times for inspection.. and i guess stress. I am really worried. What could probably cause this pain? Thank you..

    • Knee Pain Support Team says:

      Melai,

      Thank you for reaching out to us. I can definitely understand the frustration your experiencing. To better assist you, I have contacted you via email. Again, thank you for contacting us and I look forward to speaking with you soon.

      Kind regards,

      Mimi |Customer Support

  16. I was hit from be hide while sitting at the red light since then I have soffering with my neck and back. When I wake up my hands are very stiff and painful, and my feet hurt very bad. After riding in a car or getting up from sitting my feet is very painful.

    I have pain in my neck and lower back everything is getting worse now the pain is in my right knee it hurt to stand up and walk. There has always been pain in my left forearm and in mr right wrist.

    Please help, is all this pain from my lower back which constantly hurt, so painful.

    Thanks to God be the Glory.

    • Knee Pain Support Team says:

      Hi Jo,

      Thank you for your message. To better assist you I have contacted you via email.

      -Mimi |Customer Support

  17. OMG I have to write. I’m 8 months postpartum and suddenly my knees were killing me! Like no relief and just kept getting worse and worse. I couldn’t bend down, I couldn’t kneel at all I couldn’t jog… I’m not heavy or big just normal. I talked to my SIL about my pain and she said to try having your back adjusted. I thought yeah right… but then I remembered when my mom had cancer she had a tumor in her spine causing compression and leg pain and swelling and knee pain. So I decided to have it adjusted and bam! the next day my pain was completely gone! Like completely! I came to this sight from googling back compression associated to knee pain. I was suffering for 2 weeks. I was about to go to the drs. and instead I decided to adjust my back and now I’m feeling normal again literally over night!

    • Knee Pain Support Team says:

      Hi Marie!

      Thank you for writing, we sincerely appreciate your positive feedback and continue to hear the feedback on your pain-free journey!

      Kind regards,

      Mimi L
      TKPG Customer Support

  18. Danny Dawson says:

    Hi I have lower back and knee pain, massive amounts of tension come into my hips and upper glutes also. I recently attempted a long walk across northern Spain and had to stop halfway as my left knee periodically crunched very painfully and felt as though it was giving way, almost partially dislocating. What would be your advice? I have seen a couple of osteopaths but nothing has been diagnosed or successfully treated…

    Many thanks,

    Dan

    • Knee Pain Support Team says:

      Hello Danny,

      Thank you for reaching out to us! I suggest booking a free 30 min consultation/knee evaluation with Bill to discuss what your experiencing. Bill will be able to provide great advice and recommendations/solutions for whats going on. If your interested, please click on the link below to complete the consultation form and schedule a date and time that is best for you. Feel free to reach out to me for further assistance.

      http://www.thekneepainguru.com/lp/knee-recovery-program/free-introductory-session/questionnaire/

      Kind regards,

      Mimi | Customer Service

  19. LaTonya Buchanan says:

    I have bad knee and back pain and I really need help with getting insurance..sometimes its hard to walk and I have trouble with bowel movements.. I feel a tightness in lower back burning sensation. Please help.

    • Knee Pain Support Team says:

      Hi LaTonya,

      Thank you for reaching out to us and trusting Bill to provide you with a solution. I’m sorry to hear what you are encountering and I definitely want to help you with your situation. The first step would be to see the doctor to get a diagnosis of what is going on. Without a diagnosis, Bill will not know which programs best fit your situation. If you have seen the doctor previously, please send your diagnosis to customerservice@thekneepainguru.com and I’ll be happy to get you in touch with Bill. I look forward to hearing back from you!

      Mimi
      Customer Support

  20. I have had lower back pain for about 8 months now and my knees have started to hurt when I squat down, and my neck hurts. Some days I cannot even move it from side to side. I have recently gone to the Dr’s and he did some work on me trying to put things back in order. When he did my lower back area I wanted to scream it hurt so bad. He took some xrays and he said everything was fine. He also then gave me a shot in my lower back and it has not helped. And my lower back pain is worse now. This was 4 days ago. He also put me on prednisone. And i m having an allergic reaction. He did take blood as well to test for rherumitoid authritis and it came back negative. Having a MRI done on Monday but he is puzzled as to what is wrong with me. It hurts to walk and sit as well. And hurts to press on certain areas. I just want some answers. :( Please help! Thank you!

  21. I also forgot to mention it hurts a lot when I bend over and go to stand back up straight.

  22. I have had lower back pain for over a year now, the doctor keeps giving me sleeping tablets and pain killers and said I should try pilates. About two months ago I started getting pain all around my knee which is there 24/7, sometimes it feels like fluid is there. I went to see the doctr who told me it is just wear and tare and these things happen as you get older. What can I do to get rid of the lower back and knee pain or can I?

  23. jenifer Nundahl says:

    Ten years ago I turned wrong and my knee popped i was in the garage moving boxes and my husband heard it in the house. It was really sore and I was told i had injured my meniscus, it improved in month or so but for the past ten years i have had occasional flair-ups that would last a week to a couple weeks to a month or two. About a year ago the knee was hurting more and more until about 6 months ago it came and stayed. It has gotten worse and a mri disclosed i had minimal arthritis and a smaller tear in my meniscus on the outside of my knee. Becasue of the pain and with pain medication only helping minimally they considered doing a scope. The surgeon thought perhaps it wasnt the tear and now that after all this my hip and groin are starting to hurt. My knee locks or gives way sometimes when I walk so I have wretched my hip a couple times, I also walk with a pretty bad limp because I cannot put weight on my knee. I have had some ajustments done and it helps the hip and groin area but does nothing for the knee. My medical Dr is now convinced that it is a lower back problem causing my knee and leg pain. I am scheduled to have an mri and hopefully that will show something. I would like to ask if we can be sure if the knee is the chicken or the egg. Did the knee trigger the back problems or did the back cause the knee problem…or do I have both. I am concerned becasue my Drs are ready to do knee surgury then they shift after I started to have this hip and groin pain to possible back correction. I need to get all the info possible before I submit to anything.

  24. OK what do we do? I first went in to the doctors about 5 months ago with knee pain no back pain, I then hear a pop weeks later I go to ortho doctor and I torn cartliage and went to therapy things started getting better untill I started walking more again, now lower back constant pain and both knees hurt and the one with the cartliage still hurts, he says I have arthritis and I take mobic a for the swelling. But my question is what else can I do I’m only 37 years old I had a active life used to be able to walk, hike, walk the dog now cant walk the dog and barely can walk 30 mins even with a knee brace.

    • Knee Pain Support Team says:

      Hello Mary,

      Thank you for reaching out to us.

      I’m sorry to hear that your still experiencing pain. Have you tried The Comfort Zone Stretches yet? These are really good exercises to break up scar tissue and will help you create comfort in the knee joint (only the knee) by systematically working with the tiny movements in the knee that squeeze on the nerves the width of an eyelash letting you know you have knee pain. It’s a great place to start to get a feel for the program.

      http://www.thekneepainguru.com/lp/comfort-zone-stretches/

      Feel free to reach out to us for further assistance.

      Mimi
      Customer Support
      customerservice@thekneepainguru.com

  25. I have been having these pains for over a year now, one morning i woke up and all of a sudden I was in pain. I am 33yrs old and relatively active. I go to the gym but i dont feel like I over do it. The pain first started in my lower back and it was radiating in my buttocks and down the side of my leg. I went to the doctor did x-rays and they could not find anything. They then decide to do an MRI and then the MRI showed that I had a minor arthritis in my lower back. The doctor said it was very minor and if i exercise it will go away. The back pain did go away for a while but then my knees start hurting me terribly especially when i walk up and down steps, sometimes when i sit. The pain is around my knee cap and especially to the front of my knee. I have been wearing braces but the pain is still there and it is terrible. I feel like an old person, how can this just start happening and I have no idea where it came from. Lately my back has been paining me again and I work in Accounting so I have to sit at desk all day. If i sit for too long my back, legs and knees start hurting. I am going back to the doctor but just wanted your opinion on what you think i should do. I want to get rid of these pains and be my old self again.
    Thanks.

  26. I had a teared meniscus on my left knee years ago during a badminton tournament and since then I constantly have knee pain around the kneed cap. The has affected my ability to participate my favorite sport. I started going to spinning class 2 years ago,hoping to strengthen my knee muscles. In stead, my right knee also experience the same sharp pain. I have seen chiropractors, physiotherapy, acupuncture, and muscle strengthening and nothing seem to work. Now I experience knee pain when working up and down stairs but it is frustrated to see the poor performance in playing badminton. Lately I injured my lower back during the badminton game, which make things worse. I am not really sure if the cause is from my back or knee. I just want to find the right diagnosis and get back to my favorite sport.

  27. Yolanda Kinnety says:

    I had a MRI which showed I have a lumbar problem, L1-5, and I see a specialist who.have given me 3 cortizone steroids injections which they all work for less than a week and pain always comes back along with pain somewhere else. Like the first back injection I had my hip started hurting plus tingling & numbness to my legs. The second on i got worked for a few day but pain came back more intense on my left side hip. I had the third injection and when i went to bed that night I woke with both knees swollen, my left knee was swollen the size of a watermelon. The right side was the size of a cantalope. My knees are still swollen but not as bad a they were, but its been 3weeks I couldn’t walk at all for a while I’m just barely getting up and walking. At night when I go to bed I notice I get woken up with Sharp pain in my knees andin my bones, my femer hurts really bad like achey all the time. Now my question is could what happened to my knees be a reaction to the injections? Or nerve damage? The pain sucks and I hate taking pain killers but that’s the only way to get relief.. Can you help with some info on this? Thank you

  28. is there any remedies that could heal my back pain as well as knee pain? will this affect my sports activities?

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