Hamstring Stretch for Back Pain Relief

David Donald

Hamstring Stretch from BioSpine Institute on Vimeo.

Hamstring Stretch Benefits: Stretches the hamstrings and strengthens the lower back muscles, which can relieve lower back pain
Difficulty: Beginner
Modifications: 3

The hamstring muscles are a very important muscle group that directly affect the low back.  Hamstrings bend the knee and also extend the hip joint.  Many people who sit for long periods of time or have poor posture will have tight hamstrings.  These conditions can also perpetuate back pain. It is essential to have some flexibility in our hamstrings to function in everyday life as well as alleviate back and leg pain.

There are many ways to stretch the hamstring muscles. Whether in sitting, standing or laying down, the back should be erect and not round.  

How to perform a hamstring stretch sitting down

Sit on an elevated surface and putting one foot out in front of you either on the floor or stool.  Keeping the toes pointed up and knee as straight as possible, lean forward at the hips until you feel a strong but comfortable stretch in the back of your thigh and possibly behind your knee. Your back should not round and your chest and butt should gently stick out. Hold this stretch for at least 20 seconds and up to a minute.

How to do a standing Hamstring Stretch

To perform this in standing, follow the same rules: back erect, knees straight, chest and butt out. You can either put one foot up on an elevated surface or bend forward and rest your elbows on an elevated surface. Again, your back should not round. Hold for at least 20 seconds and up to a minute.

How to perform a hamstring stretch while laying down

To perform laying down on your back, bend up one knee while keeping the other straight. Lace your fingers behind your knee and try to straighten it as much as comfortably possible without rounding your back. You should feel a strong stretch behind the knee and in the back of the thigh. Hold this stretch for at least 20 seconds or up to a minute.  It may be helpful to use a belt to assist your leg up if you cannot reach it.

Sitting Hamstring Stretch


Standing Hamstring Stretch


Modified Standing Hamstring Stretch


Laying Down Hamstring Stretch


Hamstring stretch for back pain patients

We often show our patients who have recently underwent a minimally invasive spinal fusion surgery to perform hamstring stretches to strengthen the muscles in the lower back.  Strong lower back muscles can help with posture and prevent future pain.  Always consult with your doctor first before starting a workout routine.

More Exercises:

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