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Nerve irritation will often mimic muscle tightness. If the sciatic nerve (which runs down the back of the leg) is irritated, it can be mistaken for hamstring tightness.
If nerve tension or irritation is the underlying problem, although stretching your hamstring may feel good in the short term, long term it is likely to further irritate the nerve, perpetuating the tightness.
How to test
One quick test to see if this might be the case is to stretch your hamstring (in whichever position you like), but then slowly tuck your chin to your chest.
If it feels like the hamstring stretch increases with the chin tuck, it is very likely that nerve tension or irritation is the underlying issue, not hamstring tightness. Tucking your chin tensions the nervous system (not your hamstring) and symptoms of nerve irritation become more apparent.
This is readily treatable but should be investigated by a suitable professional to find out why the nerves are tight or irritated.
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This post was written by Steffen Toates. Steffen is a chiropractor at Dynamic Health Chiropractic in Jersey CI. For more information about Steffen click here.