Effective Lower back Stretches
Learn how stretching the hamstrings can relieve lower back pain.
The lower part of the spine, or the lumbar region, is the region where most people experience back pain. This part of the back carries the weight of the body and the muscles are prone to strain.
If you suffer from hamstring strain or lower back pain, or are seeking to prevent its occurrence, it is important to follow the information in this article. In addition, adding a few simple stretches to your fitness program will also help. To get started on a safe and effective stretching routine that’s just right for you, check out the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility.
Hamstring & Spine Anatomy
The diagram to the right illustrates the vertebrae of the spine. Notice the ‘S’ shape of the spine, which I refer to later
The lower back is acted upon by any of the muscles connected to the lower torso. For example, the abdominal muscles play a leading part in keeping the lower spine straight and any back exercise program must strengthen the abdominals.
The subject of this article, however, is stretching the back of the legs, or hamstring muscles, and how that helps prevent or help treat lower back pain.
It might not seem obviously necessary to stretch your legs in order to help your back, but let me explain why this is so.
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. The technical or anatomical names for the three hamstring muscles are semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris.
Tight hamstrings tend to pull on the pelvis, as the top of the long hamstring is attached to the pelvis, so this causes a rounding of the lower back (Seen in the images below). Over time, this postural imbalance will lead to back pain.
Normal v’s Abnormal
In the first image, the man has a normal ‘S’ shape in his back.
In the second image, the lower back is rounded, meaning that the hips have been pulled backwards by the hamstring. His back no longer has an ‘S’ shape and is likely to suffer from lower 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.
So, how do you improve the flexibility of your hamstrings and relieve lower back pain? With stretching!