Did you know that among the several causative factors associated with (sometimes) excruciating back pain are tight hamstrings? But what are hamstrings to begin with? These are a mix of three muscles, biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus, found at the back of the upper leg, which together form the hamstring. Their primary function is to help you bend the knee joint. The hamstring also enables hip extension. This is where your back pain can be caused. A tilt of the pelvis, muscular pressure on the knee and hip joint can add to a postural distortion. This can put pressure on your lumbar discs and facet joints over time.
Reasons for Tight Hamstrings
In most cases, all muscles work in perfect rhythm and support each other. This is called an engram. According to Oxford https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100212518 an engram is a “Memorized motor patterns used to perform a movement or skill, that are stored in the motor area of the brain”.
These engrams can be disrupted due to poor training habits, repetitive strain and excessive sitting (for example). In turn, a problem occurs when there is a disruption in the way the muscles respond to other muscle groups, and it could be why your hamstrings become tight all of a sudden.
The disruption of the normal pattern of muscle firing and contraction sequence can often lead to poor joint joint control, pressure on the low back and can have a flow on effect to reduce the core stability of the abdominals and pelvic floor.
How Tight Hamstrings Cause Back Pain
Although hamstrings are located in the legs, they have a significant effect on your lower back. It is because everything in the human body is interconnected. For example, when the hamstrings become tight, they begin to pull on the sitting bones, often referred to as ischial tuberosity. This can tilt the pelvis backwards.
The immediate effect is on the spine. The additional pressure and counter forces produced can pull and strain the ligaments surrounding the vertebral segments. At this point, all the effects and counter-effects are putting too much strain and tension on the structures surrounding your lower back. This can cause additional stress on lumbar discs and may lead to cases of sciatica, joint sprain or tendonopathy.
Check out this science article here, demonstrating a link between tight hamstrings and low back pain: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4522442/
Fixing Your Tight Hamstring Issues
There are various ways to relieve tight hamstrings, which also help with your back pain. Keep stretching them as often as you can. Another long-term solution is glute conditioning, regular foam rolling and other therapies. Experts advise keep strengthening them so they can reliably do their job without straining the hamstrings. Our Chiropractors or Remedial Massage Therapists can help you. P| 02 96900911 or book online!Read more