How Tight Hamstrings Can Affect Your Spine

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

Hamstrings Spine

Most people assume that if they are dealing with back pain that the problem is housed somewhere in their spine. That’s a reasonable assumption, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes a problem in another area of the body causes a ripple effect that leads to pain onset in another area. In today’s blog, we explore the connection between tight hamstrings and your spine health.

Hamstring Health And Your Spine

In order to get the full understanding of how these two areas of your body relate to one another, we first must learn a little bit more about our hamstrings. Your hamstrings are actually a collection of three different muscles on the back of your thigh; the semimembranosus, the semitendinosus and the biceps femoris are the three different parts of your hamstring. All three originate from the sitting bones in your hips, and they attach to different areas of your tibia and fibula, providing you with the ability to bend and rotate your knee.

When tightness develops in your hamstrings, they begin to pull on an area of your public bone known as the ischial tuberosities. This tension ends up slightly tilting your pelvis backwards. Nearby joints are then affected by this pelvic shift, causing the vertebrae in your lower spine to flex forward. Essentially, because of a domino effect caused by tight hamstrings, your lumbar spine has to work harder and handle more stress when you bend forward. This can lead to ligament strain, bulging or herniated discs or speed up the degenerative disc process. However, you can help prevent this problem by learning how to stretch and lengthen your hamstrings.

Stretching Your Hamstrings To Help Your Spine

Before we dive into some specific hamstring stretches, we want to touch on some ways you can help to keep your hamstrings loose without partaking in concentrated exercise. For many individuals, their tight hamstrings are caused by inactivity, too much sitting, inhibited blood flow caused by tobacco use and lack of regular lower body-focused exercise. If you work at a desk or spend a lot of time on the couch, make it a point to get up and move around for a couple minutes every hour, and more is always better. Also, try to help improve blood flow to the hamstrings by avoiding tobacco products and getting regular exercise.

You can find a whole host of hamstring stretches by simply googling the phrase, and here’s a look at five of them that we like. However, it’s also important to build hamstring muscle and strength through a workout routine. Some exercises that target your hamstrings and can help keep them functioning properly include:

  • Planks
  • Leg Extensions
  • Wall Sits
  • Glute Bridges
  • Leg Curls

If you develop a workout routine that focuses on your hamstrings, and you strive to move more and keep your body physically active, odds are you can decrease or eliminate any back pain that is being caused by a hamstring issue. For more information, or to learn more about the underlying cause of your back pain, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.

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