3 Simple Stretches to Remedy Tight Hamstrings- Cause of Low Back Pain
Most people don’t realize the connection between tight hamstrings and low back pain. Stiffness in the hamstrings can cause disruptions in lumbar pelvic rhythms. In layman’s terms, this means that tightness in the hamstring muscles can affect the pelvis, which in turn, effects a person’s posture. By integrating a few simple stretches into a daily routine, low back pain can be significantly reduced by stretching the hamstrings.
Where are the Hamstrings in the Body?
The hamstrings are actually a group of muscles and tendons located behind the thigh on the back of the leg. These are the bicep femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus. The top of the bicep femoris is connected to the ischial tuberosity in the pelvis. The bottom of the bicep femoris is connected to the linea aspera and the lateral supracondylar line behind the knee.
What are the Functions of the Hamstring Muscles?
The hamstring plays a critical role in flexion (bending) of the knee, internal and external rotation of the leg and hip extension. However, because of the connection to the bone in the pelvis, tightness in the bicep femoris or other muscles and ligaments can cause the pelvis to tilt. This tilt creates pressure in the lumbar spine and surrounding muscles in the back. Thus, maintaining flexibility in the hamstrings is important for proper posture.
Stretches for the Hamstrings
Standing Forward Fold- Start by standing with the feet hip width apart. Toes should point forward. Extend the arms overhead and fold forward with a flat back, folding forward from the hip. Gently begin to round the spine. Hands may rest on the thighs, knees, shins or feet as each individual determines. Move in and out of the position fluidly several times and hold the pose for 1-2 minutes for a deep stretch.
Seated Forward Fold- Start by sitting on the floor with the legs extended in front. Extend the arms overhead and fold forward, rounding gently from the lumbar spine, stretching the chest forward. Hands may rest on the knees, shins or feet as determined by each individual. Pillows or a bolster may be stacked on top of the legs for ease in folding forward. This position can be held for up to 5 minutes.
Reclining Hand to Big Toe- Start by lying on the floor. Extend one leg into the air with a bent knee. Wrap a strap around the bottom of the foot allowing the ends of the strap to fall down either side of the leg. Hold one end of the strap with each hand and gently extend the leg straight toward the ceiling. Increase or decrease tension in the strap as determined by each individual. Hold the pose for 1-2 minutes, alternating sides.
Closing Thoughts from Dr. Tali
The origin of back pain does not always begin in the spine. Because of the way our muscles, tendons and ligaments are connected, many muscles groups impact pain in the back. Finding ways to treat the source of the pain can help promote wellness in the body. Try these simple stretches for your hamstrings to decrease pressure on the low back. Check in to let us know how these stretches worked for you. As always, if you need chiropractic care, give us a call at Radiant Health Chiropractic Care.