Hamstring pain can make sitting, running, walking, or lifting painful and difficult. Last week we discussed 3 likely causes of hamstring pain. We also discussed a couple exercises to address the first of those causes, hamstring strains. This week we’re going to discuss the second likely origin of hamstring pain: lumbar radiculopathy.
Lumbar radiculopathy occurs when a nerve is compressed and irritated where it exits the spine in the low back. A herniated disc can push on the nerve or bone spurs can narrow the area. This can cause radiating pain in the buttock and down the back of the thigh into the hamstring. Sometimes it will go all the way into the lower leg as well.
Hamstring pain from a herniated disc is frequently aggravated with sitting and bending over repeatedly. Fortunately, there are things you can do to resolve this. Here are 2 things you can do to start:
Prone Press Up
Start by lying flat on your stomach and press up as high as you can into the position shown below. You might feel some pressure in your low back. However, don’t push through any sharp pain. This should be a fairly comfortable position. Hold for 2 seconds at the top and then come back down. Do this 4 to 5 times a day, 15 to 20 repetitions each time. It sounds like a lot, but frequency is better here.
Bridges improve low back awareness and control. They can also help you regain strength and endurance in your low back muscles, hamstrings and glutes. Initially try to hold at the top for 5 seconds and do 2 sets of 10 reps. As they get easier, increase the hold times, working up to 30 sec holds for 3 sets. Do these 1 to 2 times a day.
When done correctly, both of the above exercises can help to reduce the nerve compression from a herniated disc and resolve your pain. They should not make your hamstring pain worse. If you’ve tried these and you’re not sure if your doing them correctly or your still hurting, let us help you! At Solutions Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine, we’re experts at treating hamstring pain. We can clarify why you’re hurting and help you overcome your injury.
Helping you live your best life,
The Solutions Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Team