Mary, a 48 year old female came to our office with pain in the right lower buttock area. She was very athletic and stated that she pulled her hamstring. The pain was in the lower buttock area precisely where the hamstring muscle originated. It was obvious to her that it was a pulled hamstring because every time she stretched it or sat down, it hurt in that spot. One unusual thing was that she had been resting it for about 6 weeks and it hadn’t gotten much better. Mild to moderate strains to muscles or tendons should have been markedly improved in that period of time. Upon evaluation, she showed me that bending forward reproduced the pain. This was logical because flexing your body forward puts tension on the hamstrings. However, when she extended her spine backwards, the pain was also elicited. That clue doesn’t correlate to the pulled hamstring theory.
After further evaluation, we determined that the true source of her pain was a disc in her lower back. This was very important information because the approach to treatment is vastly different for these two conditions. After learning the true cause of the pain and the correct treatment strategy, the patient noted ongoing improvements over a period of about 6 weeks when she was able to return to full and pain free function.