The sensation of tightness in the hamstrings can be due to various reasons. Typically it can be from poor postures, altered movement and walking patterns, or compensation due to other muscles being weak such as the gluteal muscles. The hamstrings attach to the bottom of your pelvis. With tightness, it can pull on the pelvis causing it to put more stress on the pelvis and back. In these cases, education to mildly elongate or stretch the hamstrings may help. Regardless, it is more important to retrain the proper strength and movement patterns of the legs and trunk so proper mechanics of the back can be restored.
Sometimes tightness in the hamstrings can also be a protective mechanism from underlying nerve pathology in the sciatic nerve. We have seen patients trying to stretch their hamstrings and instead develop sciatica as stretching irritated the nerve rather than stretch the muscle. Further differential diagnosis of the hamstrings and their relationship to low back pain should be determined by a qualified health care practitioner.
More Answers from Brian Yee