Tight Hamstrings and Lower Back Pain

Tight Hamstrings and Lower Back Pain

If you are suffering from lower back pain the first thing you need to do is a bit of detective work to help work out what is causing it. The first port of call is your health professional. Your doctor will be able to advise you on whether your lower back pain is caused by an underlying problem. You would be well advised to seek the help also of an Osteopath, look for one locally on the General Osteopathic Council website where you will find registered practitioners for your area listed.

One of the causes for lower back pain can be tight hamstrings. If the hamstrings are overly tight then they shorten the posterior sling, tilting the pelvis backwards at the hip joints and deactivating the gluteus maximus – the power house of your body. This can cause all sorts of problems, probably the most troublesome of which is lower back pain.

When I see a new patient I do a quick check to see what their glutes and hamstrings are up to. Usually I find hamstrings are busy doing the work of the glutes! Very friendly of them, but no use to you whatsoever, you need your glutes to be working efficiently. Often even when patients are specifically exercising the glutes it will be the hamstrings which are doing the work and getting tighter and tighter, which will just exacerbate a low back problem.

Stretching the hamstrings and learning how to exercise your glutes efficiently will help. Lie on the floor with one knee bent and the foot on the floor. Hook your hands around the knee of the other leg and then raise that legĀ  into the air. Gently pull the raised leg into flexion and until you can feel the pull in the hamstrings and hold for a minute or so. Repeat with the other leg. You should do this daily.

It may take some time to release off tight hamstrings, massage can help enormously in this process, helping to break down fibrous tissue and restore suppleness.

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