Did you know that having tight hamstring muscles are a major contributor to lower back pain? Not only do tight hamstrings are related to lower back pain, but it also affects your posture, impaired ability in sports and fitness and can injure your hamstrings themselves. This article will go over some hamstring stretches for lower back pain and also explain the connection between them.
What are Hamstring Muscles
To help you understand how hamstrings can impact your back, you have to first understand where they are and how they are attached relative to your lower back.
The hamstrings have three different muscles on the back of your thigh: the semimembranosus, biceps femoris, and semitendinosus. Knowing these muscles and where they are on the body can help you understand better about your back pain.
All three of these muscles originate from the sitting bones in your hips or the ischial tuberosities.
Causes of tight hamstrings
Most of the time tight hamstrings are caused by lifestyle factors such as poor posture, lack of flexibility and muscle tightness. Other factors can include:
- being overweight
- prolong sitting every day
- working out
One way to fix most of these issues is by using a standing desk converter or walking and stretching every so often from your desk job. Most of our clients fix their tight hamstrings by changing their lifestyle from prolonged sitting.
How are tight hamstrings connected to lower back pain?
When you have tight hamstrings, it will pull no the ischial tuberosities, pulling your pelvis backward or tilting it the opposite direction it’s supposed to. The joints that are adjacent to this move is called a “coupled” fashion, where the pelvis tilts back the vertebrae in your lower back flex forward.
When your hamstrings are tight and you bend forward the flexion comes from the lumbar spine, which isn’t ideal. This can strain the ligaments that surround your vertebrae and making your bulging disks in your back worse.
So, to fix this, try lengthening your hamstrings (by stretching) will stop your body from putting unnecessary stress on your spine.
Stretching your tight hamstrings for lower back pain
There are countless stretches you can do to help loosen your tight hamstrings. Here are a couple of popular ones that you can easily do at your desk.
Seated/Chair Hamstring Stretch – While sitting on your chair, place one leg straight out on another chair, or just as far as you can. Reach toward the toes and stretch one leg at a time.
Standing Hamstring Stretch – When you’re standing, keep your feet together and bend forward at the waist with your arms hanging down towards the ground. Make sure to keep your legs straight, without locking the knees. You’ll feel a pulling sensation on your hamstrings. At first, you may not be able to bend and touch the floor but work towards this by doing this every day.
How often should you stretch your tight hamstrings?
Hamstring stretches have been shown to be most effective when done for a duration of 30 to 60 seconds, twice daily and on a regular basis.
Try to incorporate this into your daily routine, this can make it easier to remember. A good time is to do it when you get up every morning or before going to bed each night.
The 30-day hamstring stretch challenge
This is a good start to helping you stretch your hamstrings. Copy this image and post it on your wall or refrigerator and mark each day so you can keep yourself accountable on your stretches.
By the end of 30 days, your hamstrings should be less tight which will also help with your lower back pain.