Tight Hamstrings And Lower Back Pain – Is There A Correlation?

By Michael

June 2, 2018

Did you ever think your hamstrings were causing you to have that agonizing lower back pain you constantly feel like complaining about?

And did you ever think a bad lower back can cause your hamstrings to hurt? Well, you know what, they can be!

I’ve been a long-time back pain sufferer with terrible hamstring pain, and I want to show you what works and what doesn’t, but first things first…

To get you thinking a bit – Are your hamstrings really to blame for your bad back?

Let’s take the example of an ice cream bar.

ex: There are two ice cream sticks on the left and right most outer ends supporting the ice cream bar. The sticks are the hamstring, and the delicious ice am bar is your upper torso and lower body. And get this…

If one of the bottom ends of that stick bends and breaks apart(like it usually does, C’mon admit it, we’ve all been there). It’ll cause:

  1. Less support
  2. Less resistance
  3. Weight imbalance

Therefore, the bar will come falling back on the sticks. That’s where the disaster begins…your muscles, joints, and ligaments can no longer support you. That’s what I call an avalanche of tight hamstrings and lower back pain.

In this article I will be walking you through:

  1. What are the hamstrings
  2. can tight hamstrings cause back pain?
  3. What happens when your hamstrings get tight
  4. How to test for tight hamstrings
  5. How your hamstrings need to work

By the way, if you’d like to skip over this article and check out my #1 recommendation which is muscle balance therapy, click here.

What’s A Hamstring? Is It Obvious?

To understand how your hamstrings can be causing your lower back pain, we must do two things:

  1. Look to see the area they are in
  2. How they are attached

I want you to find this next sentence seriously. Take a look under your glute(butt). Literally. The portion under your butt and runs to the back of your knee is where the hamstring is located. BINGO!

Your hamstrings are made up of three different muscles:

… And no, these are not dinosaurs! Lol.

BIG words, but here is how I can best define them for you:

All 3 originate from your sitting bones in your hips. The bicep femoris differs in that it has two heads, and the others come from the back of the thigh-bone.

Have you ever wondered what happens to the muscles as they contract and get tight?

What Happens When Your “Hammy’s” Are Tight?

Look, it’s perfectly normal that lower back and hamstring pain pair up together, but even more is that you learn what happens once it occurs…

Tight hamstrings will pull on a muscle called the ischial tuberosities, an area of your pubic bone.

When it gets pulled inward, your pelvis gets pushed backward(going into posterior pelvic tilt mode). At this moment in time, your vertebrae in your lower back are brought flexed forward. What does this all mean? Possible trouble lies ahead…

So when your hamstrings become tight and you get a bend forward flexion has to come from your lumbar spine. This is not ideal! Guess what gets it the worst? Your ligaments around your vertebrae! and this can make a bulging disc far worse. Yikes!

But I was taught the ways…

To resolve that, the key is to keep your hamstrings lengthened at all times so you can move properly.

Related: Fixing Muscle Imbalances

I Call Upon The “Hamstring Test”, Get Your Thinking Cap On

Tight hamstrings back pain as I like to refer to has pushed you back enough, it’s time to start pushing back against it, but first…

Great, you have the information about what hamstrings are, and what happens when they get tight, but how do you know for sure your are tight?… By physically checking.

Right from the gecko, you’ll know your hamstring is going to be tight if you’re always active, and constantly are listening to your body. Here is the not so secret test, ready?

  1. Stand up
  2. Bring your feet in together, and stay straight
  3. With both of your hands try to reach down. Doing it slowly.

Did you touch your toes? Wait Wait..Don’t answer that before me…

I can actually answer that for you. It’s a definite no.! Some magic? Not exactly. You came here to find out if weak hamstrings cause your lower back pain and even the slightest amount of pain is enough to keep you away from your 10 toes.

If you felt pain in the backs of your thighs, that’s affirmative, tight hamstrings.

How You Can Make The Troubles Disappear

If sitting can make your hamstrings worse off, what opposite of that can make it better?

You guessed it, standing up. When your hamstrings are relaxed, it will allow for your pelvis to tilt forward. Your spine follows that extension accordingly, and in result, it will:

  1. Take the pressure off your disk
  2. Take the pressure off your ligaments

Did you know you had two great options to correct your hamstring issues? See below.

  1. The Chiropractor. Your chiropractor can help lengthen your hamstrings. Talk to him/her if you need to.
  2. Yourself. You can begin with some simple hamstring exercises right now.

Keep in mind that your body is a MECHA MACHINE.

Something about that picture above tells me you don’t have tubes, and bells and whistles, but it does have moving parts. And if one of these parts happens to break down on you, the rest will have to keep moving like a pack of soldiers behind enemy lines and carry on the extra weight. Pretty soon that will lead to aches and pains, and you know, there is no time for that!

==>Go here if you would like to see the best hamstring stretches you can do<==

CBD For Tight Hamstrings?

You haven’t heard much of my story in this article aside from the fact that I’ve had terrible achy and pulled hamstrings that have caused even more severe back pain, but what about the most talked-about Natural Remedy?

Look, I’ve tried every treatment imaginable, from stretching and exercising to using a whole load of conservative treatments like heating pads, tens units, and massage chairs…

And Believe me or not, CBD was the one I didn’t try until early 2017. I was at work in my cubicle doing office work 5 days a week, but well worth over 40 hours because I would come home and do more office work to build my business which as you now know, became to be Remove Back Pain.

My hamstrings were always tight while on the job, I was exercising 4-5 times a week going on runs and lifting weights but it just felt horrible most of the time…

On top of my post back pain recovery, I could still feel the mental pain of making it worse and going back to the pain level I was at before(a 10). It dawned on me that I could still use little pain relief creams for my muscles and joints, as well as supplements for other purposes and mix in CBD cream or oil for my hamstring injury.

Why would you want to use CBD For your hamstring pain/injury you ask?

Well…first of all, CBD is a very well-known anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving natural remedy that can be applied in many ways like:

  • Topical
  • Oils
  • Sprays

Now, In this article, I won’t go deep into what you can use CBD for and what it improves because I made a whole separate in-depth article on CBD oil being for pain HERE.

But what I will tell you is that Vaping CBD as well as using a topical and Oil are the best to relax your muscle pain and improve your recovery.

This Is Not The End, But You CAN Count On It To Be The Beginning

You can do it! Your hamstrings will get better with the efforts you make.

The evidence backs up that your hamstrings can be at fault for causing you lower back pain. The three HUGE muscle groups play a pivotal role in keeping your ligaments stretched out and in shape.

What happens when you don’t take care of your hamstrings? Your muscles get weak, and they shorten, causing your pelvis and hips to lock and move forward, causing that forward motion we call posterior tilt.

Ready, set, action… let’s run a test. By doing a test with the bend over and touch your toe stretch you can verify if your hamstrings are indeed tight. If they are you know its time for a fix.

How you can make it work is by taking a couple of actions. Visiting the chiropractor, and seeing the reflection in you(yourself). You can engage in exercise to strengthen the muscles. It only takes a couple of minutes of your day to do so.

What did you think about this tight hamstrings lower back pain post? Did you get what you needed?

I would appreciate it If I could get feedback on anything that I might have missed, something that you’d like to know more about, and what I can do to best serve your needs.

Plus, I would greatly appreciate it if you could share this post with others who need help too, and it would also help grow this post. But only if you want to.

Now, continue to the dedicated hamstring stretching article as apart of the Remove Back Pain System below. See you there!

The Remove Back Pain System

To Get Over your tight Hamstrings you’ll need the right stretches, and you can rest easy knowing that they are in this hamstring stretching article


About the author

Hi My name is Michael Granados, I am of the age of 26 years, and I’m a back pain specialist, enthusiast, and expert. All of us have had or will have lower back pain at least once in our lives, and whether it’s acute or a more chronic condition, you can depend on us here at Remove Back Pain to take great care of you. I ensure you’ll take the right and most appropriate steps for you to heal the safest and most productive way. Get ready for a better lifestyle!

  • Thanks for the info. I actually did the “test” you posted. I was able to touch my toes with not a lot of pain, but you can tell it was stretching the hamstrings. It kind of felt good actually. My lower back pain seems to be coming from the mattress I sleep on. Time for a new mattress I guess. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Wendy,

      I’m glad to hear your back doesn’t hurt when you do so. It’s not uncommon, but if you’re having disc issues, especially severe ones, it’ll put more pressure on the spine and surrounding ligaments, and overstretch muscles and hamstrings. Oh is it? Most of the time it’s not the mattress. This is how I can tell: if you wake up every morning in some aching pain, and have to stretch for about 15-20 minutes to get rid of it. Another is if you toss and turn in the middle of the night, and wake up. Because I’ve been in a similar situation, I’ve done stretching before sleep(yoga), and when I’m in bed I would sleep in one position that helped me which was a pillow between my legs and on my side. Check out my article, I think it can help. http://temp-removebackpain.siterubix.com/index.php/how-to-sleep-with-a-lower-back-pain/

  • Hi, as a physiotherapist this is a great post for the layman. I suffer at the moment with a pulled hamstring on the right side which i did running and it has given me pelvic / back ache. Thankfully with stretching and gradual strengthening exercises it has started to improve.
    Thanks for sharing some great information. I will bookmark for future.

    • Hi Mark,

      I’m glad you found this post useful. Oh no, the infamous pulled hamstring! It’s happened to me multiple times, and I know you can relate when I say it just triggers other problems. Yeah, the best way would be to rest, and continuously stretch to get the strength back. I do a hamstring stretch about every other day. Happy to hear you are bouncing back. Keep it up. Thank you.

  • A very timely article for me. I just joined a four week challenge at Fit Body Bootcamp and after the first day, my hammys were screaming. I will definitely use these stretches to try to loosen them up. My lower back also was feeling it. This is very useful information and I am going to share it with some of the other people in the challenge.
    Thanks again for some great information.

    • Hi Curtis,

      Oh did you? I bet it was an eye opening experience? Yeah, these stretches work wonders, I incorporate hamstring stretches into my daily routines. I’ve been in a similar situation with soccer, and after coming back from a month of rest to get back on the grind, I would feel the stress on my hamstrings. I learned it’s important to stretch before, leading up to an event. Nice! Thank you Curtis.

  • Yikes. I think I experienced this over the weekend. I don’t know what the proper term is, but I was doing back curls for my legs and the joints in both my knees and my hamstring were in tremendous pain. I could not walk down the stairs or straighten my legs. I didn’t experience any back issues, but I will keep this in mind when I do come across it. Thanks for the info.

    • Hi there Mi,

      I’m sorry to hear that. The leg curls are suppose to stabilize your knees. Have you had a history of knee problems? that could be triggering
      It. And if you’re hamstrings we’re in pain, It could result from overuse, and overstretched muscles. I used to work out my hamstrings like crazy, and I had to take a break from them because they would be sore. Give it a few days in between, and that may help. You’re welcome.

  • I suffer from chronic lower back pain but unfortunately in my case it’s not because of tight hamstrings. I haven’t gotten a certain diagnosis but it’s probably a disc issue. I can touch my toes and have decent hamstring strength and mobility. Working out keeps the pain in check.

    How ever I know tight hamstring is a real problem to many people. Many people spend most of their day sitting on their asses in front of the computer (I do this too) and don’t realize how weak the largest muscles of their body have become. I’m talking about the whole posterior chain, hamstrings, glutes and the lower back. These are the muscles that do most of work in supporting our frame in our day to day movement. It’s no wonder people have back pain when they sit all day and don’t take care of their muscle stregth and mobility.

    I train with barbells and there is no better movement for hamstring strength and mobility than romanian deadlifts. Add some full range squats and regular deadlifts to the mix and your posterior chain will thank you.

    • Hey Jukka,

      Oh really? My immediate thought was a disc issue and ligament strains. Honestly, I myself would avoid toe touches only because it puts greater stress on disc. Working out is the right way to go about it. Working around the pain is going about it properly. That’s very true! I’m glad you brought that up…we sit and sit. They are all gargantuan. It’s too bad many people don’t work on an ongoing problem. Everything from your hamstrings and up to your neck is affected by sitting improperly. It multiples, once you have a back pain, then it’s an upper back pain, and much more. Yes! Romanian deadlifts are an awesome workout. I just did them yesterday, but with dumbells, at a small pace. They’ll make the biggest difference. You have it spot on. Thanks for sharing your story Jukka, this will help many others. If you’re training with weights, it could be a disc issue but not a Farley large one at best. A possible thinning, or degenerative disc could be it.

  • Loved this article. Stretching is so undervalued and it can literally save your life! I injured myself a few months ago and stretching has brought me right back (it was not stretching enough in the first place that got me injured).

    Thanks so much for great content!

    • Hi Ciara,

      It truly is. It’s really the difference in your mobility and movements. It’s the difference between sitting and standing more often. I learned that the hard way. Oh yeah? It’ll help in any given situation. You could be playing a sport, participating in an activity, doing something at work, that requires you to make a certain movement. I’d rather be prepared than sorry. You are welcome! Anytime.

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