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Hamstring & Back problems

I have had VERY tight hamstrings all my life, as a teenager it did not affect my athletic performance at all. Now that i'm older (35) I constantly injure my lower back and have had patella tendinitis since age 16. Any recomendations besides the obvious of hamstring stretches?

  • justin commented Jun 29th 2011:

    Have you read the fixing injuries chapter?

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I've had a similar problem, and I'm turning 30 this year and I hate how quickly my body has aged between now and when I was 25…

I've started doing lots of sciatic, psoas and other deep core stretches, gotten rid of all my shoes with heels greater than 5mm and started doing Turkish get-ups. These have all helped immensely! It's seems that the lower back muscles will overcompensate for other core muscles being underdeveloped. This leads to stiffness and injury when you try and use it, while it's all bound up.

I'm not overly familiar with Patellar tendinitis, but it would seem that is related to your tight hamstrings as it would be irritated by fighting against them whenever you extend your leg.

Obviously go see a doctor before you do anything too drastic. It pays to be cautious with back injuries.

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You might have tight fascia that is limiting your ability to effectively stretch your hamstrings. The fascia is the covering over the muscle (picture the membrane on the back of a rack of ribs that you must remove before cooking it). If the fascia isn't loosened up first, the hamstring muscle itself will have a hard time loosening up. That fascia envelopes your body like Saran wrap and is the same fascia that is in your lower back. Tight hamstrings will also easily lead to patellar tendinits since it makes your quads work harder to extend your knee.

My suggestion would be a few sessions with a good massage therapist who can work on the fascia using a technique called myofascial release (MFR) and then stretch you out. A few sessions should go a long way to fixing the dysfunction. Once your fascia is stretched out, its much easier for you to maintain muscle length by your normal stretching routine, so this isn't a life-long process of getting your fascia worked on.

Disclaimer: I'm a physical therapist. We can do the same thing and you might be able to get your insurance to cover it. It shouldn't be difficult if you have back and knee pain because of it. Look for an orthopedic therapist specifically who specializes in manual therapy.

  • massagejenn commented Jul 17th 2011:

    I am a massage therapist, I agree with the above, also try someone who does Graston, I saw amazing things done in a Chiropractors office when I did some interning... Your family doc might be able to prescribe you some PT to see if that works, in some states like Oregon, not Texas, you can get a script for massage too!

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