Does a 'tight' hamstring predict low back pain reporting during prolonged standing?

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2012 Jun;22(3):407-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2012.02.008. Epub 2012 Mar 6.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between hamstring passive stiffness and extensibility in asymptomatic individuals with the reporting of low back pain during 2-h prolonged standing. Twenty healthy participants with no history of low back pain (mean±SD, age 22.6±2.7 years, height 1.74±0.09 m, weight 76.2±14.8 kg). Low back pain (VAS score; mm) was continuously monitored during 2-h prolonged standing. Hamstring extensibility, passive stiffness, and stretch tolerance were measured before and after prolonged standing using an instrumented straight leg raise (iSLR). Ten participants reported a clinically relevant increase (Δ VAS>10mm) in low back pain during prolonged standing. Hamstring extensiblity (leg°(max)), passive stiffness (Nm.°(-1)), and stretch tolerance (VAS; mm) were no different between pain developers and non-pain developers. No changes in hamstring measures were observed following 2-h prolonged standing. No relationship was observed in this study between measures of hamstring extensibility and the reporting of low back pain during prolonged standing. There is no evidence to recommend hamstring extensibility interventions (i.e. passive stretching) as a means of reducing pain reporting in occupations requiring prolonged standing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Elastic Modulus
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Posture*
  • Young Adult