Did you know that simply stretching your hamstrings twice a day could help your lower back pain?
The hamstring group of muscles, located at the back of the upper leg, are actually a group of three separate muscles. The top of these muscles are attached to the lower part of the pelvis, and the bottom of the hamstring muscles are attached to the lower leg bone just below the knee joint.Tight hamstrings tend to pull on the pelvis, flattening out the normal S curve of the lower back. Over time, this postural imbalance leads to back pain.
By improving the flexibility of the hamstrings you are able to remove the tension from the pelvis and allow the pelvis to sit in its’ natural position, which in turn allows the spine to resume its’ natural ‘S’ shape.
There are several ways to stretch your hamstrings. We've included two of the most common in this post.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
1. Stand up straight with one heel resting on a small stack of books or a stool.
2. Keep your knee straight.
3. Keep your back straight.
4. Reach forward and feel a stretch in your hamstring behind your thigh.
5. Hold the stretch for 25-30 seconds on each side. Repeat stretch for a total of 3 times on each leg.
Chair Hamstring Stretch
1. Sitting on a chair, place one leg straight out on another chair in front of the body.
2. Flex the foot of your extended leg toward your head.
3. Reach toward your toes until you feel a stretch in your hamstring one leg at a time.
4. Hold the stretch for 25-30 seconds on each side. Repeat stretch for a total of 3 times on each leg.
When stretching remember:
Never force a stretch beyond the point of mild discomfort. Stretching tight muscles will be uncomfortable, but you shoudl never feel any sharp or sudden pain. If you do, stop immediately - you are pushing yourself too far.
Be consistent. Stretching for a few minutes each day will gradually build flexibility and range of motion. This is far preferable to stretching only once a week for a longer time.
Don't hold your breath. The deeper you breathe, the more relaxed you are and the deeper and longer you will be able to stretch.