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  • Writer's pictureTaruna Rijhwani

Is Your Back Pain Caused By Tight Hamstrings?

Have you ever heard of one of these? Chances are if you have had back pain for a while & you have been around looking for solutions, you most likely have. Lot of providers falsely assume that Back Problems originate in tight hamstrings and your inability to touch your toes.


Let me explain how this theory cannot be further from the truth & you can give your poor hamstrings a break from stretching. Having good hamstrings flexibility or being able to touch your toes is not a bad thing but clinical research has found no correlation between tight hamstrings & having back pain or chronic back problems.


That is because most pain emanates from discal tissue, nerves or maybe even facet joints. So having tight hamstrings will have absolutely no effect on these structures & thereby on your back problems. Your hamstrings are merely a large muscle group that run in the back of your thigh and have nothing to do with your back problem or sciatica episode.


Also, think about this: If you have tight hamstrings, you will almost always have those in both legs and sciatica on the contrary is extremely common on one side. Meaning you either have back or leg pain on the left or right side or it switches sides in some cases. Very rarely do we see patients have sciatica pain down both legs.


So if the pain is coming from your “tight hamstrings” why is it only on the one side? It does not make sense logically or scientifically but yet it is one of those myths that keeps floating around and unfortunately dare I say it, reinforced by some healthcare providers.


So, next time if you are using “hamstring stretches'' as an exercise to manage your low back pain, think again. Stretching your hamstrings may make your symptoms FEEL better but is not necessarily addressing the root cause of your sympt​​oms. In some cases, if you are stretching your hamstring when you have a pinched nerve, you could actually be making your problem worse.


Stretching your hamstrings may “feel good” and intuitively feels like something that could help because for years in school and trainers or coaches have taught you to stretch your tight hamstrings but remember that those trainers were not addressing your back problem. They were simply helping you get flexible so you could play a sport better. If you have back pain or sciatica, you are in a very different situation now and hence stretching your hamstrings ain’t the answer anymore.


Want to learn more?

If you or someone you know has long standing back problems and never got a full resolution consider working with a Mckenzie Method Speciality practice like ours.

You can request an appointment by filling out the short Inquiry Form here. You will meet our specialist (in-person or video), talk about your problem and decide if we are the right fit for you.

If you’re interested in learning more about your Posture related Back Pain & Sciatica issues,

then feel free to request a Copy of our limited edition E-Book on this very topic right here!

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