The low back, or the lumbar area provides structural support, movement, and protection of certain body tissues. Essentially, it supports your entire upper body and contributes to function of the lower body as well. Since one in three people experience lower back pain chances are you have experienced it yourself. Common culprits of back discomfort might be surprising, but knowledge is power and understanding the culprits can help one become pain free.
The hamstrings are located on the posterior part of the body, below the buttocks. The hamstrings can get so tight it can pull on the pelvis and cause discomfort in the lower back. When the hamstrings are too tight it restricts movement of the pelvis and the lower back then has to compensate. For example when doing movements such as a forward bend to touch the toes the hamstrings being too tight restrict movement of the pelvis and the low back has to compensate and often will get over stretched.
“This constant overstretching of the low back due to tight hamstrings places more stress on the low back, so if the hamstrings are looser the back doesn’t have to do the work and is therefore protected from unnecessary injury.” says Lyndsey Babbitt, CORE Trainer – Santa Cruz Core Fitness and rehab
Hamstring stretches are an essential exercise to help lower back pain. A good stretch would be to ly on your back using a stretch strap to pull your leg up in the air and closer to your chest. Hold this for 30-60 seconds or until you feel relief. Doing this every day can help with back pain if tight hamstrings are the problem. Tight hamstrings is only one possible culprit of back pain.
Sitting Too Long.
How does sitting hurt the back so much? When people sit too much the tightness comes partially from the psoas. The iliopsoas muscle is a combination of the Psoas Major and the iliacus. It’s most commonly referred to as your ‘hip muscles.’ When these get tight, like the hamstrings, they put excess strain on your lower back, but in a different way. When the psoas tightens it pulls the pelvis down creating an anterior tilt. The legs are tight in the front and then causes the low back to arch.
Get up and stretch, stagger your feet and do a modified warrior pose or standing lunge. Engage your core and tuck the pelvis slightly to get the front of the back leg to stretch. This stretch can also be done kneeling in a lunge position, but standing works just as well. This will give a great stretch and help to neutralize the pelvis taking some strain off the lower back.
The body is complex and clearly communicates discomfort telling you something isn’t right. Don’t ignore the pain, do something about it! Try these stretches, they may be just the ticket to resolve the back pain, but there may be more to it, your body may need something else. Come in, ask to do an assessment this will allow us to really assess your body specifically and see what is going on. We truly enjoy helping others and no one should be in pain, let us help you get comfortable and resolve that nagging back pain!