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!