Tight Hamstrings and Back Pain



Everybody is susceptible to tight hamstrings, from professional athletes to a soccer mom. People who have long desk, sitting hours or rigorous training schedules all can benefit from a “hammie” stretch or two, or three or four…

In the simplest of terms hamstrings are a group of three muscles that run from the “sit” bones and extend down to the knee. They dominate the back of the thigh and are responsible for flexing or bending the knee. When they get tight or shorten they pull down on the originating point on the “sit” bone or part of the pelvis, changing the tight of the pelvis / hips. When this happens it flattens the lumbar or low back curvature changing the whole structure of the back and your posture. This scenario will give way to

  • Increased risk of herniated disc
  • Over use and strain of the lumbar (low) spine
  • Low back pressure
  • Weakened abdominals
  • Unstable low back
  • Increased risk of strain and tearing injuries to the hamstrings

Hamstrings can be stretched at your desk or on the mat but should not be ignored. If you are at your desk simply:

  • Sit up tall on your chair
  • Extend your right leg long, gently flexing the right foot
  • Bend your left leg left foot flat and secure into the floor for stability
  • Elongate your back
  • Gently reach for your right foot
  • Think about reaching it with energy through your chest and a FLAT back
  • Breath hold and switch sides

Some relevant yoga stretches to keep in your arsenal are:

  1. Seated forward bend with hips on a prop/block
  2. Standing forward bend
  3. Standing forward bend wide leg
  4. Standing forward bend against the wall
  5. Plow pose straight leg
  6. Pigeon pose
  7. Lying leg extended big toe holding pose

Whatever stretch you chose to do, switch them up rotate, breathe while you are doing them, hold for 1-3 minutes, and be consistently as well as mentally tough. Hamstrings are stubborn and take time and attention but the rewards are worth the work