How Hamstring Flexibility is Linked to the Health of Your Back
Mar 06, 2019 16:23
Hamstrings are a large muscle group that runs through the back of your thighs from the hip, down to the back of your knees. These muscles are essential for normal functions like walking and running.
Injury to your hamstrings can cause significant knee, thigh or hip pain. Tight hamstring muscles are also a common contributor to lower back pain.
By keeping your hamstrings flexible and strong, you will be able to recover more quickly from injury to these muscles and prevent future problems with your back (specifically the lower back).
Benefits of Hamstring Flexibility
Having tight and/or weak hamstrings can lead to a loss of flexibility and an overall unhealthy body. This is because this particular muscle group is so vast.
By strengthening and stretching your hamstring muscles as part of your regular workout routine, you can achieve strong, flexible thighs that will support the rest of your muscle groups, preventing injuries and improving your physical flexibility and fitness.
How Tight Hamstrings Can Cause Lower Back Pain
The lower back is one of the most important parts of our bodies. In combination with your abdominal and oblique muscles, it makes up your body's core. This quite literally forms your center. This core is an area that controls most of your movements, from being able to stand upright, walk, lift and reach.
Because it is located at the center of your body, the lower back is susceptible to the effects of injuries or limitations in other areas of your. Shortened hip flexors (which are the muscles on the front of your pelvis and top of your thighs) pull the spine into an inward curve.
In the same way, tight hamstrings pull on the lower back causing the hips and pelvis to rotate backwards. This leads to a flattened lower back. When your lower back is either over-arched or flattened is causes stress on the lower back muscles. This often leads to reduced mobility of your pelvis which in turn causes muscle weakness and pain.
Why Hamstring Flexibility Is Important
When your hamstrings are relaxed it allows your pelvis to tilt forward. The lumbar spine will then couple this movement in the direction of the extension thereby taking the strain off the ligaments and disks in your spine.
You can reduce lower back pain by strengthening and stretching your hamstrings. If the muscles are strong and flexible your back and pelvis will have better support when you move.
How To Keep Your Hamstrings Flexible
In most cases, increasing your hamstring flexibility to ease your back pain is easy. By performing simple stretching exercises on a daily basis you can prevent the pain and improve your fitness.
Here are two basic stretches to get you started.
•Standing Hamstring Stretch
More commonly known as a simple toe touchin which you bend forward and reach your fingers toward your toes while keeping your legs straight. This is a very easy way to keep your hamstrings limber. From a standing position, bend forward at the hips. Allow your arms to hang down to your toes while keeping yourback and legs relatively straight.
•Chair Hamstring Stretch
Sit in a chair and extend your legs straight out in front of you with your heels on the floor. Keeping a straight spine, reach for your toes until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. You can also do one foot at a time, bending one knee and placing the foot flat on the floor, and reaching for the toes of the opposite extended leg.
Always remember that your body is like a machine with many moving parts. If one of those parts isn’t working properly, other parts will have to make up for it. If a lack of flexibility is causing you pain, don't be afraid to have a personal trainer help you get into better shape.
Important Note: If you’ve had a hamstring injury make sure you see a doctor for proper treatment before doing stretching exercises.
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