So a couple of mornings ago I was perusing through the facebook posts, as one does. Yes I have a confession - I am sadly a Facebook addict! I spotted a comment made by some spinal group, which forced me to raise a rather concerning eye brow. If you're on my Facebook page you might have seen my reaction.
"Stretching hamstrings twice a day could help your lower back ache" - I of course always run my opinion past Paul - the guru of all things being related to fitness, nutrition and the anatomy. (Need to make sure I'm on the right track before I blurt my mouth off!).
I wanted to clarify some things - before the world runs off stretching their hamstrings and finding that it's actually making their lower back ache worse!!!
I must add that as I don't know YOU or YOUR issue it is very hard for one to say stretch your hamstrings...... Now I do completely understand where they are coming from, and perhaps it's the way the article was written.
Many folks who suffer back ache are generally people who sit at desks or spend many hours behind the steering wheel. As a result of doing that task for the past 5, 10, 20, 30 years is that your hip flexors (those muscles down the front of your body from you hips into you thighs) become tight. So if you think a piece of dough that you have rolled out into a thin strip. If you leave that little piece alone it shrinks until you roll it again and you have to keep rolling it to get it longer and longer.
Now the hip flexor is the same - if you've just leave those muscles without stretching it so it "shrinks" (my technical terms), it becomes tight - over a period of 5, 10, 20 or 30 years! The result of this is that it actually pulls your pelvis forward and this starts to then have an effect on the back muscles being put into the wrong position and as a result that muscles are flapping around (again my technical terms) not doing anything so the body starts to shrink that muscles too in order to get the muscle fit in it's slot. (Think of something that's too long trying to fit into a shorter space - there's too much of it - so the body starts to adjust to "fix" it). Many people think their hamstrings are tight because it's pulling - however their hamstrings are actually being pulled to their longest point - they're lengthened to the max (ie they've rolled out as far as they can - thinking of that piece of of dough) so if you keep stretching your hamstrings making them longer and longer and longer and longer - the knock on effect is that it allows the hip flexors to shrink even more and even more and even more - thereby making your back tighter and tighter = more pain!
Yes hamstring stretches do offer a temporary pain relief but it certainly isn't the long term solution. YOU NEED TO STRETCH YOUR HIP FLEXORS! AKA roll them longer so they release the back and they release the hamstrings. (or just come to Pilates, we'll sort you out :)
I've created a video for you with my Top 2 exercises for relieving lower back ache. Again - using my experience with the majority of our clients - this seems to be the main problem. It's a muscular imbalance - it has nothing to do with Sciatica or spine bulgest etc - that's for another time...this pain generally resonates around the lower back into the back of the pelvis.
Enjoy my 2 exercises! Remember this is something that needs to be done EVERY DAY!
PS Sorry about the sound - hubby is on night shift so I have to keep it down or I'll have a grumpy man on my hands :)
Any questions please feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com