RATIONALE: The benefits of providing manual therapy and exercise targeting the hips in individuals with mechanical low-back pain (LBP) are not well established. OBJECTIVES: The objective in this study is to determine whether a formal prescriptive treatment protocol for the hips improves outcomes in patients with a primary complaint of mechanical LBP. METHODS: Eighty-four (84) subjects (50 males, 46.1 +/- 16.2 years) were randomized to 1 of 2 groups: pragmatic treatment of the lumbar spine only (LBP) (n = 39) or pragmatic treatment of the lumbar spine and prescriptive treatment of bilateral hips (LBP + HIP) (n = 45). Pragmatic treatment of the lumbar spine was based upon published clinical guidelines. Prescriptive treatment of the hips involved the use of 3 hip exercises targeting the gluteal musculature and 3 mobilization techniques targeting the hips. Subjects were assessed at baseline, 2 weeks, and at discharge with the following measures: Modified Oswestry Disability Index, Numeric Pain Rating Scale, a global rating of change (GRoC) score, the patient acceptable symptom state (PASS), and patient satisfaction. RESULTS: At 2 weeks, significant differences between groups differences were found in GRoC and patient satisfaction (P < .05) favoring the LBP + HIP group. At discharge, there were significant differences on the Modified Oswestry Disability Index, numeric pain rating scale, GRoC, and patient satisfaction favoring the LBP + HIP group (P < .05). Effect sizes were small to medium. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that a prescriptive treatment of the hips may be of clinical value to individuals presenting with the primary complaint of mechanical LBP.