Pain Concern

Do tight hamstrings / calf muscles worsen back pain

Hello, it's me again.

My physio now wants me to start working on my hamstring and calf muscles as she says if you can condition them then they will really help with back pain. I am doing the exercises but I can't seem to get these muscles to loosen at all, does anyone know if this theory is correct (loosening these muscle will help lower back pain)

If so can anyone guide me to some useful exercises for this, the physio showed me some but they don't seem to be working and I can't see her again for another 6 weeks - I should have said I have been doing these exercises for approx 5 weeks now. Thank you.

4 Replies

A therapist called Jolie Bookspan publishes loads of information about her Methods of healing back pain, online. One series of exercises is about hamstrings. There is a connection but she doesn't think it a crucial one. She also corresponds with questioners via her website.


That's great information. I will check out her website thanks so much


We I see my McTimony Chropractor she stretches my leg muscles. In my case it did not cause back pain but did cause me periodic problems of losing strength in my legs. The tight muscles were pulling on my lower vertabrawith resultant presure on nerve roots.

In my case lose of strength in someone else it could cause back pain via muscles in the lower back trying to compensate.

You are not trying to loosen muscles you are trying not to tighten muscles. There is no mechanism to tell muscles to loosen. There are mechanisms to tell muscles to contract. So you have to learn not to cause muscles to contract.

A good exercise is to work on relaxing your shoulder muscles. There is a spinal reflex in tight shoulders will increase the tension in the legs. So reducing the tension in the shoulders will help reduce the tension in the legs.

Also look at the head neck in the mirror. Is the head balanced on top of the spine or is it jutting forwards. There are a lot of reflexes in the neck which will affect the tension in the legs.


Wow John, brilliant reply!! I'm will check my head etc. I did have a feeling that the lower back could be compensating the leg muscles - but I was not sure.

I have not tried and shoulder relaxing exercises, and I will look online for techniques. Thanks for your very full answer, I really appreciate you taking the time to respond


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