The causes of back pain are many and various. But could the cause your lower back pain be in your legs? Yes, it could! Tight hamstring muscles are actually a common contributor to lower back pain, but can be treated at home with a little knowledge and a few stretches.

hamstring musclesTight hamstrings will pull on the ischial tuberosities, one of the areas of your pubic bone. This tends to tilt your pelvis back. Joints adjacent to this move in what’s called a “coupled” fashion, so when the pelvis tilts back the vertebrae in your lower back flex forward.

It can strain the ligaments that surround your vertebrae and also make bulging disks in your back worse. So, lengthening your hamstrings is key to moving your body as it is intended to and not putting unnecessary stress on your spine.

When your hamstrings are relaxed it allows your pelvis to tilt forward. The lumbar spine will then couple this movement in the direction of the extension which takes the strain off the ligaments and disks. The following stretches can gradually lengthen and reduce tension in the hamstring muscle, and in turn reduce stress felt in the lower back.

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Which Stretches Relieve Back Pain?

Standing Hamstring Stretch

How to Do it

While standing, bend forward at the waist with arms hanging down toward the ground and with legs straight, without locking the knees. Try to touch the toes but do not strain to do so. Stop bending forward when a slight pulling sensation is felt in the hamstring. This form of exercise is not always recommended as it may be difficult to do, and even exacerbate pain from a lumbar herniated disc, spondylolisthesis or other specific conditions.

Chair Hamstring Stretch

How to Do it

Sitting on a chair, place one leg straight out on another chair in front of the body. Reach toward the toes and stretch one leg at a time.

Towel Hamstring Stretch

How to Do it

While lying on the back, hold each end of a rolled-up towel and wrap it behind the foot. Then pull the leg up in front of the body to feel a slight stretch in the hamstring muscle.

Wall Hamstring Stretch

How to Do it

Lie on the floor, with the buttocks against a wall and the legs stretched up against the wall. Try to push the knee as straight as possible. This stretch is usually gentle on the lower back, as it places minimal stress on the low back and the body is supported while lying down.

Hamstring stretches have been shown to be most effective when done for a duration of 30 to 60 seconds.

Stretching should be done twice daily and on a regular basis. It can be easier to remember to do the stretches if they are incorporated into a daily routine, such as when getting up every morning and going to bed each night. SpineOne physicians and specialists are available to help you learn more about the cause of your back pain and how to manage it for long-term health.