Tight Hamstrings and Back Pain

What do tight hamstrings have to do with back pain?

A lot! Your back, especially your lumbar spine (lower back), is designed to be fairly stable. The network of muscles in your core (abdominals and pelvic floor) and surrounding your spine are there to support you in an upright position.

We are designed to be on our feet and moving. And that means our hips, where our legs attach to our pelvis/torso, are meant to be flexible and fluid so we can take strides, moving ourselves from one place to another. But what we typically are doing these days is sitting on our butt, not moving. So our hips (where all of the hamstring muscles connect to the pelvis) get really, really tight.

OK, great. But how do tight hamstrings make my back hurt?

Well, if your back was designed to be stable and strong, and your hips were meant to be flexible and fluid, but the exact opposite has happened instead, you're in real trouble! The thumbnail version of how pain occurs is this:

tight hamstrings cause back pain

See how all of this stuff works together to cause pain?

The tightness of your hamstrings causes your pelvis to be pulled down and away from the lumbar spine, which puts the lower back in a position of instability—the exact opposite of what it needs. Check out the image to see what I mean.

So how do I stretch my tight hamstrings?

I devote a huge amount of time and energy to the stretching of the hamstrings and the strengthening of the core and back in the Hauber Method™ videos. Sessions 3 and 4, in particular, contain amazing hip stretches that will give you relief that you have probably never felt before, as well as the most important exercises to help your core and back muscles fight the good fight against tight hamstrings.

To get started in your efforts to relieve your tight hamstrings, you'll want to access my favorite stretch on Vimeo on Demand by clicking the image below. It's a great stretch for tight hamstring and back pain, and it can help you start feeling better NOW!

stretch for tight hamstrings and back pain

Try this great stretch for tight hamstrings and back pain, and start to feel a bit better today! Just click the image for access.

Sara Hauber (27 Posts)

Sara Hauber, M.A., has practiced the art of back-care and functional-movement therapy since 1999. She specializes in ending clients' long-term back pain after all other treatments have failed. In 2012 she released The Hauber MethodTM, a 6-week at-home program to relieve chronic low-back pain, featuring the methods that have helped her clients and workshop students live pain-free lives for more than 14 years. You can find her on , Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

3 Responses to “Tight Hamstrings and Back Pain”
  1. Agnieszka Lopez says:

    Sara, Thank you for the clear and detailed explanation of proper alignment while in the stretch. It’s not an easy exercise but I feel I can do it in a way that is more protective of my spine.

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