The Correlation Between Hamstring Tightness and Low Back Pain in Seated Workers

Presenters: Ahmed Radwan, Ph.D., associate professor, and Thomas A. Crist, Ph.D., professor, Utica College

Sitting is now the most common posture in the American workplace. Seated workers are at especially high risk for Low Back Pain (LBP). Potential correlations between muscle impairments and LBP have not been well documented and may lead to more effective prevention strategies to reduce LBP in seated workers. In this presentation, the anatomical relationships between the hamstring muscles, pelvis, and spine will be reviewed and the association between hamstring tightness and sacroiliac/lumbar spine pathology will be described. The results of a published study that confirms this clinical association will be shared during this presentation.

Upon examining hamstring flexibility among 72 office workers with a history of mechanical LBP, we found that all participants had abnormal hamstring tightness and that the extents of their disability scores as measured by the Oswestry Disability Index were significantly and positively correlated with the degree of their hamstring tightness. These results confirm the importance of maintaining hamstring flexibility in seated workers to decrease the incidence of LBP and its pathomechanical consequences. Effective strategies to maintain hamstring flexibility in seated workers utilizing the creep phenomenon of the body’s soft tissues will be presented.

Learning objectives: 

At the end of this presentation the attendee will be able to:

  • Identify current anatomical and mechanical relationship between hamstring muscle tightness and LBP
  • Criticize a currently published study that confirms such correlation
  • Apply hamstring stretching strategies utilizing the creeping phenomenon of soft tissues and teach them to seated workers as a routine exercise to guard against developing mechanical low back pain

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