Determining the structure of spectral densities is important for understanding the behavior of any quantum field theory (QFT). However, the exact calculation of these quantities often requires a full nonperturbative description of the theory, which for physically realistic theories such as quantum chromodynamics (QCD) is currently unknown. Nevertheless, it is possible to infer indirect information about these quantities. In this paper we demonstrate an approach for constraining the form of spectral densities associated with QFT propagators, which involves matching the short distance expansion of the spectral representation with the operator product expansion (OPE) of the propagators. As an application of this procedure we analyze the scalar propagator in ϕ4 -theory and the quark propagator in QCD, and show that constraints are obtained on the spectral densities and the OPE condensates. In particular, it is demonstrated that the perturbative and nonperturbative contributions to the quark condensate in QCD can be decomposed, and that the nonperturbative contributions are related to the structure of the continuum component of the scalar spectral density.