Are my tight hamstrings contributing to my low back pain?


Hamstring tightness is a common examination finding at Dee Why Chiropractic Care and a lot of these patients suffer from low back pain. Although there are many causes of low back pain, tight hamstring could be an underlying cause or a contributing factor.

Are my tight hamstrings contributing to my low back pain?

The hamstrings consist of 3 muscles located at the back of your thigh and they extend from your buttock area to the back of your knee. There can be many causes of tight hamstrings including genetic factors, lack of stretching, sedentary lifestyle, muscle tears and sciatic nerve aggravation.

How hamstring tightness contributes to low back pain

Ideally we should have a nice curve in our low back that helps distribute forces through our spine. This curve protects our joints from excessive load being put through them. However, when we have tight hamstrings there are changes in this curve that that can lead to low back pain.

When we have tight hamstring it causes the pelvis to tilt forward and as a result there is a flattening of our low back curve. When we have a flattening in our low back curve there is increased pressure on the joints in the spine. When we have increased load on these spinal joints they are more likely to be injured and degenerate over time.

Not only are the spinal joints under increased load, our muscles in our low back are working a lot harder. Over time these muscles in our low back fatigue and get weak which can potentially lead to chronic low back and hip ache.

Dee Why Chiropractic Care’s advise for increasing hamstring flexibility:

  • Gradually ease into it, as being too aggressive from the get go as it can lead to other problems
  • Bring the muscle to a comfortable tension; it shouldn’t be painful
  • Use foam rollers or get massages to break up fibrous tissue in the muscle before you stretch for greater range
  • Hold each stretch for 30 seconds – 1 minute
  • Don’t bounce in and out of the stretch
  • Do slow and easy warm ups and cool downs to loosen up tight muscles that were involved in the workout

If you are suffering from an injury to your spinal discs we recommend you do not stretch the hamstrings using the bend over and touch your toes technique as it may aggravate your condition.

Below are a few examples of exercises to stretch out and release your tight hamstrings




Get stretching today!

Are Sacroiliac conditions causing your low back and hip pain?

Are Sacroiliac conditions causing your low back and hip pain?


The sacroiliac joints (SIJ) are two joints that connect the pelvis with the sacrum. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is commonly seen at Dee Why Chiropractic Care and is usually attributed to joint inflammation or altered motion.

The sacroiliac joints have very little motion as they are comprised of very strong ligaments that keep them stable. When we walk or run, the sacroiliac joints are responsible for shock absorption to prevent impact forces from reaching the spine.

What causes sacroiliac joint pain?


It typically occurs when we have inflammation of the ligaments supporting the joint and is usually accompanied by spasm of low back and hip musculature. This is usually caused by:

  • Too much movement of the joint
  • Little to no movement of the joint.

Are Sacroiliac conditions causing your low back and hip pain?

Other causes of SIJ pain:

  • Arthritis
  • Trauma
  • Running
  • Pregnancy
  • Inflammatory arthritis (eg. Ankylosing spondylitis)
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Uneven strides/poor gait
  • Prolonged standing
  • Infection

What does sacroiliac joint pain feel like?

  • Pain along the joint (near the dimple in your low back)
  • Pain can be dull or sharp
  • Can be aggravated by certain movements
  • Pain often felt when getting out of a chair
  • Usually only on one side
  • Pain can radiate into the groin, hip, leg and sometimes to the feet
  • Pain may be worse in the morning and improves during the day.

How Dee Why Chiropractic Care can help

A lot of patients make the mistake of self-diagnosing themselves with having sciatica, as they have similar symptoms. So the first step is to get the correct diagnosis through a proper evaluation.

Sacroiliac dysfunction has been shown to be treated successfully using chiropractic adjustments. It is also important to address the reactive muscles spasm because it is responsible for a lot of the discomfort associated with sacroiliac conditions.

For this reason we use certain soft tissue techniques such as dry needling, active muscle releases and stretches to complement the adjustment.

If you believe you have a sacroiliac condition and think we can help you, give us a call today.

What sitting for too long does to your spine & health

Written By: James Hayes

At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we treat a lot of office workers complaining of headaches, neck and low back pain caused by sitting for prolonged periods without a break!

As humans we are meant to be upright and are built for movement. Anatomically we haven’t changed much from our “hunter/gatherer” ancestors however our lifestyles have quite significantly. A large percentage of the population live very sedentary lives, working hours on end at a desk and getting little exercise.

Lets go through some of the most common conditions associated with sitting for prolonged periods:

Postural changes

When we sit, we tend to slouch. It is almost unavoidable. You can sit with good posture until the muscles fatigue and then you begin to slouch. Over the years our posture adapts to our lifestyles, which can manifest into painful conditions and premature degeneration of our spinal joints.

Weakened core

Having a strong core is important as it plays a major role in protecting the spine. However when we sit, the core is less active/contracted hence there is more pressure put on the spinal joints. Use it or lose it…heard it before? Sitting for too long leads to core muscle deterioration and fat accumulation around the abdomen.

Weak legs and glutes

Our leg muscles are meant to be strong as they are supposed to be supporting our body. As mentioned earlier when we don’t use them, we lose them. So our muscles start to waste and without strong gluts and legs to stabilise us, you are at increased risk of injury.

Muscle imbalances

Muscle imbalances occur with poor posture. Some muscles become tight and some become weak. Ultimately leading to altered mechanics of the body and increased stress on the joints (particularly the spine) that may lead to some painful conditions.

Neck and low back pain

Sitting for prolonged periods with bad posture leads to increased stress on spinal joints; commonly the discs in the low back become compressed. Compressed discs can lead to conditions such as annular tears, pinched nerves and sciatica.

The human head approximately weights about 4-5kg and while we sit our head is typically in the forward position or looking down. What this does is increase the load on the neck and shoulder muscles, as they have to work harder to support the head. This leads to tight shoulders that can lead headaches and changes in the neck curve that can lead to chronic pain and spinal degeneration.

Increased weight

No surprise here. Increased weight increases stress on your joints.

Diabetes and Heart Disease

Studies have shown that people who have sedentary lifestyles have an increased risk of developing diabetes and/or heart disease.

Moving is good for your spine and overall health. Sitting for too long increases the risk of chronic health problems such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. 

What sitting for too long does to your spine & health

Steps to break the cycle:

  • Get out and move
  • Take regular breaks from sitting
  • Have your work station ergonomically assessed
  • Get a standing or adjustable desk
  • Get a back support
  • Stretch tight muscles and strengthen weakened muscles
  • When sitting try your best to sit upright and engage your core
How do I know Chiropractic is for me?

How do I know Chiropractic is for me?

Written By: James Hayes

When people first injure themselves they don’t know who to see. Some people take pain medication or see the GP… but what about a Chiropractor? Chiropractors are known as spine specialists however we are not limited to the spine. We cater for disorders of the musculoskeletal system including sports injuries, postural rehabilitation and repetitive strain injuries.

Every chiropractor you will see will have undertaken at least 5 years of university training to be proficient at the diagnosis and treatment of the musculoskeletal injuries.

Common conditions treated at Dee Why Chiropractic Care:

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Shoulder pain
  • Poor posture
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched nerves
  • Sports injuries
  • Tendinitis
  • Ligament sprains

Whether you come in for a quick check-up on your posture or are suffering from something more complex such as disc herniation or impinged nerves, a Chiropractor will complete a thorough case history and examination to reveal the exact cause of your pain.

Don’t be the person that asks Dr Google why they are in pain, you will just end up causing yourself a great deal of stress…leave the diagnosing to the professionals.

We make sure you know exactly how and why it has happened, as we believe understanding why it has happened will prevent future episodes.

At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we encompass a multidisciplinary approach when treating your condition. We utilise an array of techniques to release tight muscle tissue such as dry needling and active releases in addition to chiropractic adjustments to get you out of pain as fast as possible.

Call or email us today with any further questions!

Sciatica Do I have it?

Sciatica, do I have it?

Frequently people come in to Dee Why Chiropractic Care with low back pain that extends into the hips and legs. Lots of people self diagnose themselves with sciatica after doing a quick google search… sometimes this is not the case.

When you have low back pain in the presence of leg pain it its important to get professionally checked. A lot of the time the patient has simple mechanical low back pain with muscular referral into their legs, which can be easily treated.

When we’ve completed a full examination and conclude you have true sciatica our chiropractors can help! 

Sciatica Do I have it?

The sciatic nerve is comprised of 5 sets of nerve roots that exit the lumbar and sacral spine. The sciatic nerve travels from the low back all the way down to the foot. Many things can cause low back with the presence of leg pain however true sciatica is due to irritation of the sciatic nerve or the nerve roots that comprise it.

Sciatica symptoms and signs:

  • Low back and/or hip pain
  • Pain at the back of the leg which is intensified by sitting
  • Burning, tingling or shooting pain down the back of the leg
  • Weakness, numbness or poor motor control of the leg and/or foot
  • Usually only one leg is involved however in some cases sciatica can be present in both legs

Main causes of Sciatica:

  • Lumbar Bulging Disc or Herniated Disc

Spinal discs act as a cushion for our spinal joints and they sit in between each vertebra. When there is increased load on them they may start to degenerate and bulge (just imagine squishing a marshmallow). Bulging disc are painless however when they encroach onto neural structures in particular the spinal nerve roots they may cause sciatica.

In more serious cases a herniated disc causes sciatica. Herniated discs are more severe than bulging discs because the nucleus pulposus that is usually contained within the disc has broken through the annular fibrosis irritating the neural structures. Think of a disc as a jelly donut and the jelly has broken out and compresses the nerve. Not only is this worse than bulging discs because the herniated material causes direct contact with the nerve, this jelly contains an acidic, chemical irritant called hyaluronic acid which causes inflammation of the nerves.

  • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

This is more common in the older adults and is a result of compression of the spinal cord or the nerve roots. The spinal cord can be compressed in the spinal canal (spinal stenosis) and the nerve roots can be compressed as they exit the spinal column via the intervertebral foramen (foraminal stenosis). In simple terms, lumbar stenosis is narrowing of the pathway that the spinal cord and nerves travel.

There are many causes of stenosis including:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Ligamentum flavum hypertrophy
  • Arthritic bone spurs
  • Abnormal growths.
  • Spondylolithesis

Spondylolithesis (lets call them spondys for short) is a fancy way of saying one vertebra has slipped forward in relation to the vertebra below. There are a few different types of spondys and not all cause sciatica. We have seen patients in clinic that didn’t know they had a spondy until they were seen on an x-ray.

In cases where spondys do create sciatica is when the spinal canal and intervertebral foramen have been narrowed as a result of the vertebra slipping forward.

  • Trauma

Sciatica can occur from external forces placed on the low back. Most common examples include; car accidents, falls, football or gym exercises such as squats and deadlifts when done incorrectly. Usually sciatica due to trauma results from ligament and lumbar disc damage.

  • Piriformis Syndrome

The piriformis muscle lies under your gluts and is responsible for external rotation of the hip. The sciatic nerve runs below it and in some individuals the nerve actually pierces through the muscle. When the piriformis muscle spasms it can compress the nerve giving you sciatica like symptoms.

  • Tumours

Tumours are not common in the spine however if they do occur in the low back, sciatica can occur due to compression to either the spinal cord or nerve roots.

If you think you have sciatica, it is important to get assessed by a professional. The first step to relief is finding out exactly what is causing it!

Contact us today if you feel you are one of those people!

Can a chiropractor help my low back pain?

Can a chiropractor help my low back pain?

Low back pain is extremely common, as 80% of us will experience it at some point in our lifetime. Low back pain can come on suddenly or can linger for years to the point you just get used it.

Fortunately if you are suffering from low back pain, chiropractic can help.

How Dee Why Chiropractic Care can help you with your low back pain

The exact source of your back pain needs to be identified for an effective course of action to take place. For that reason at Dee Why Chiropractic Care we do a thorough case history and physical examination to identify what exactly is injured. Once the source of your back pain is identified we tailor a treatment suited to you. 

If you are suffering from severe low back pain, it is important to be assessed. In serious cases we work closely with other healthcare providers to get you the best possible care.

Common back pain treatments can involve:

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Joint mobilisation
  • Lumbar traction
  • Various muscle releases
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Dry needling
  • IASTM (instrument assisted soft tissue mobilisation)
  • Active muscle releases
  • Therapeutic ultrasound
  • Strapping

Examples of home back pain management strategies:

  • Heat or Ice
  • Certain creams
  • Stretches
  • Bracing and other supportive products
  • Ergonomic advice

We will prescribe you a rehabilitation program to complement your treatment. These home exercises aim to restore proper function and limit the chances of your back pain from returning. 

If you found this information helpful and want to find a solution for your low back pain, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Low back pain injury after deadlifting

Low back pain injury after deadlifting


Written By: James Hayes

Deadlifts are an excellent strength building exercise when done correctly. It is a functional movement that engages multiple muscle groups, however when done incorrectly can cause injury!

Muscles involved in a deadlift:

  • Low back muscles
  • Gluts
  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Trapezius
  • Forearm muscles

Proper form is key

If you have never completed a deadlift exercise, it is important to master the movement before you progress to heavy weight. We recommend going with an experienced gym buddy or having a few personal training sessions to teach you to lift with correct form.

Keys to a successful deadlift:

  • Feet shoulder width apart (however this can vary)
  • Find out what grip feels most comfortable for you (overhand grip or one over and one under)
  • Hands shoulder width apart
  • Engage core and keep low back in neutral position throughout movement
  • As you pull the bar, try and keep it as close to your body as possible
  • Keep chest up and look forward
  • Toes and knees pointing in the same direction
  • Take out the slack in the bar before lifting
  • At the end of the movement don’t hyperextend your back

Reasons for injury during a deadlift

The most common area to be injured during a deadlift is the low back. Most common reasons are:

  • Rounding your low back during the movement
  • Holding the bar too far away from your body
  • Hyperextending at the top of the movement
  • Ego lifting – lifting more weight and sacrificing form
  • Poor warm up

Poor form may lead to muscle strains, and damage to the joints in the spine. Disc herniations, sciatica and in more serious cases cauda equine syndrome can occur after a poorly executed deadlift.

Dee Why Chiropractic Care’s advice

Warm up efficiently doing repetitions at lighter weight to warm up the muscle groups. Use each warm up repetition as practise to fine-tune your form. The technique you use on the lighter weight should resemble the heaviest lift you do. Waist belts are also useful when lifting heavier weights, as they add extra support to the low back. 

If you feel pain during a deadlift, stop immediately. Pushing through the pain can lead to further injury and serious complications. You should ice the area immediately for 10-20 minutes every few hours if an injury is sustained.

If you experience any of the following seek professional help:

  • Significant low back pain
  • Shooting pain in the leg
  • Loss of sensation, pins and needles or numbness in the legs
  • Decrease in strength in legs
  • Changes in bowel and bladder habits
  • Loss of sensation in the buttocks area
  • Pain when coughing or sneezing

At Dee Why Chiropractic Care treat injured and painful backs on a day-to-day basis. If you have experienced low back pain as a result of deadlifting call us today and find out how we can help!

What is causing my chronic low back pain?

What is causing my chronic low back pain?

Written By: James Hayes

Almost everyone has experienced low back pain at some point, but if it has been persisting for months or even years…why is it happening? It is a common question we get asked at Dee Why Chiropractic Care.

Chronic pain is defined as pain that has persisted for more than three months. The source of the pain may differ from each individual as the low back is very complex and there are many reasons why you could be experiencing pain.

Common sources of your pain include:

  • Lumbar discs
  • Lumbar facet joints
  • Sacroiliac joints
  • Nerves
  • Muscles
  • Ligaments

The ideal lumbar spine (low back) has a nice “C curve” or arch that allows the forces of gravity to distribute evenly through spine. However studies have shown that when this curve is flattened or even lost there is a strong incidence of low back pain in these individuals.

Loss of this curve is most commonly seen in people that slump at a desk all day or whose work requires a lot of bending. What losing this curve means is that there is increased load placed on the structures named above leading to the occurrence of pain. Pain may come and go or it may persist for years!

It is important to note that chronic low back pain is not only caused by a lack of lumbar curve. An acute injury or traumatic episode causing pain to the low back may resolve on its own however it may also manifest into chronic pain later down the track as the body has compensated for the initial injury. This increases the stress on the spine and surrounding tissues.

Excess load on the spine can lead to the following conditions that cause chronic low back pain:

  • Lumbar herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Facet joint dysfunction
  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Spondylolithesis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Compression fractures

To be exactly sure what is causing your low back pain it is important to be assessed by a professional. At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we believe the best treatment begins with an exact diagnosis. From there an appropriate treatment protocol will be implemented to get you better!

Red flag symptoms of chronic low back pain that need to be addressed immediately

The conditions we just discussed relate to biomechanical causes of chronic low back pain, however if you experience any of the following symptoms it is important that you seek immediate medical attention to rule out serious pathology!

If your chronic low back pain is accompanied by:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of control of the bowel and bladder
  • Significant leg weakness
  • Severe pain that doesn’t decrease over time
  • Severe pain that wakes you at night
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of sensation in the buttock region
  • A pulsating mass in the abdomen