“Why Are My Hamstrings So Tight”


This is one of the most common questions I hear from my patients. One common misconception is that hamstring tightness is due to not stretching enough. However, hamstring tightness is not a stretching deficiency and in many cases, stretching can actually make the problem worse. Tightness in any muscle is a protective mechanism against overloading an injured joint or other tissue in the body.




Here are three of the most common causes of tight hamstrings:




1. A Disc Injury Can Cause Tight Hamstrings:


When a disc is injured, any flexion, extension, or other movements of the lower back places more stress on the injured disc. One of the main functions of your hamstrings is to extend your hips and keep you upright. If you have an injured disc, your hamstrings will tighten in order to keep any extra load off the injured disc.

This protects that disc from further injury.  This is why when treating hamstring pain we often fix undiagnosed and unresolved lower back issues. Ensuring proper flexion of the lower back helps keep the discs healthy as well as the hamstrings.

2. Sciatic Nerve Entrapment & Adhesion In The Hamstring:

The entrapment of the sciatic nerve is common. In order for the sciatic nerve to be healthy, it must be able to move freely from your lower back to your foot. Overuse and abuse, such as dysfunctional movement patterns or stress beyond what your body is accustomed to, can cause adhesions to form.

These adhesions cause the nerve to get stuck to the surrounding tissue which irritates the nerve and causes pain. If your sciatic nerve isn’t able to move and glide smoothly between the muscles, your hamstrings will engage sooner and will cause tightness. Weak hamstrings are also another symptom of sciatic nerve entrapment.

3. Adhesions In The Hips & Adductors Can Cause Tight Hamstrings:

Adhesions act like super glue. They make tissues that normally move smoothly past each other, sticky or prevent them from moving altogether. This stickiness increases the pressure and stress on your hips, lower back, and hamstrings. It also decreases the range of motion. When the range of motion of a joint is restricted or decreased, it is more prone to other injuries such as degeneration or cartilage damage.

If you have adhesion in the adductors or hips your hamstrings help to protect your hip joints by activating earlier and reducing the range of motion in your hips.


If you have tight hamstrings and you don’t identify the true cause of the symptoms, you will continue to have tight hamstrings. This can also lead to increased pain, decreased range of motion, and decreased performance in athletes. It can also cause further degeneration of the surrounding tissues and joints. It’s critical for you to get a proper diagnosis and receive expert treatment for this condition in order to get lasting pain relief.


How Do I fix It?

If you have chronic hamstring pain and tightness or have failed treatments with 3 or more providers, you have found the right place.  You don’t have to be in pain anymore. Call and schedule your consultation at 630-499-4078 or fill out the form below

Request A Consultation

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Vitality Soft Tissue & Spine is one of the only 5 facilities in Illinois certified in Integrative Diagnosis®