Referred Hamstring Pain

Referred Hamstring Pain

Pain in the hamstring region can originate from the lower back, sacroiliac joints or muscles of the buttocks such as the gluteus maximus and piriformis muscle. When hamstring pain originates from an injury to another part of the body, it is called a referred pain. Identifying the underlying injury and cause of the pain will help you to recover and get back training.

Symptoms of referred hamstring pain

Symptoms include pain which may be sudden onset but can also be of gradual onset. Pain is usually less severe than a hamstring strain although twinges may be felt. The slump test to test tension in the sciatic nerve is likely to be positive, but not in all cases. The patient is unlikely to have a significant reduction in flexibility.

Referred hamstring pain

Referred hamstring pain is caused by, or originates from, a problem elsewhere in the body but with symptoms that appear or radiate into the back of the upper leg.

Conditions such as a torn back muscle or problems with the spine or intervertebral discs can put pressure on the sciatic nerve and refer pain down into the hamstrings and lower leg. The patient will be likely to have a history of lower back pain if the pain is coming from the lumbar spine. Pain referred from the buttocks may present with reduced hip rotation and tenderness to palpate the glute muscles.


Treatment involves identifying and treating the underlying cause. Deep tissue massage to the lower back, buttocks, and hamstrings can be beneficial in loosening the area and restoring full function. Stretching the muscles of the lower back and buttocks may be helpful.

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