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Can Tight Hamstrings Cause Back Pain?

Girl bending forwardLower back pain is common and it often causes many to miss their workdays. There are multiple causes of lower back pain, but here, we will discuss the role of tight hamstrings in causing lower back pain.

Hamstrings are basically a group of 3 muscles present on the back of thigh (femur bone). These muscles originate from the hip bones and two of these muscles (semimembranous and semitendonous) attach to one of the bones (Tibia) in the lower leg, while, the third muscle (Biceps femoris) attaches to other bone (Fibula) in the lower leg.

Hamstring’s mechanism of action is that they cause flexion of knee joint (bending the knees) and extension at hip joint (bringing thigh behind the body). Normally the lower part of the spine is slightly curved because the back of the pelvis is marginally higher than the front side. In normal conditions, when the hamstrings are relaxed, it causes the pelvis to tilt forward and the lumbar spine also follows it with extension thus causing no strain on ligaments and discs.

On the contrary, if hamstrings are tight, they exert a pulling force on pelvic bones (ischial tuberosities) and pull the pelvis down. This makes the pelvis to tilt back and it is coupled by a forward flexion of the spine. This causes the hip and pelvis to rotate backwards and flattening of the back. The spine becomes compromised when it comes to keeping the body upright against the gravity and when you bend your body forward the flexion comes from the lumbar spine rather than the pelvis(not good for your back).

Continual pulling of the tight muscles increases pressure on vertebra as well as the muscles in the back become strained because they have to struggle to hold the body up against gravity. When it continues for a longer duration, the muscles get weak and fatigue easily causing pain in the lower back.

It is commonly seen in people who work on desk for long periods without proper posture and/or back support. The symptoms in people who already have a vertebral condition like bulging discs can get worsened by tight hamstrings.

A simple test is to stand up. Keeping your knees straight try bending forward and touching your toes. Not being able to touch your toes and feeling a pull in the back of your legs or knees is an indication that you have tight hamstrings.

Chiropractors can help in various ways in to relieve tight hamstrings, low back pain and muscle tightness. So, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to talk to your Centreville Chiropractor.

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