Stretch Out Your Back Pain
By Debra Rodzinak
As a runner, I find that I tend to get tight in my back after a long run. At first, I thought it was from poor posture or incorrect shoes. After much complaining, I finally had a fellow runner friend who told me that my hamstrings were too tight. She suggested I do stretches. Sure enough, my back pain went away!
If you are suffering from back pain, you may actually have hamstrings that are too tight. This can lead to poor posture and a pulling on the muscles that surround the back. First, stretch your hamstrings, then find your way to a chiropractor and have an adjustment. If your hamstrings have been tight for awhile, your spine may be misaligned. Beginning with a properly straight spine is the first step. Stretching the hamstrings is the second.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
This is a difficult stretch and you may want to save this one for last.
- Stand straight and bend forward at the waist
- Don’t curve the back over (look straight ahead)
- Try to touch the toes, but don’t strain to do so
- Don’t bounce up and down, but rather lean into the stretch until you feel a good stretch
Chair Hamstring Stretch
- While sitting in a chair, place the legs straight out in front of you on another chair of equal height
- Keep the back straight and reach toward the toes
- If this is too difficult, one leg at a time can be stretched out while the other remains on the floor
Towel Hamstring Stretch
This is the least stressful hamstring stretch.
- Lay on the floor with chest facing upwards
- Pull one leg up and straighten it out while holding a towel or a stretch band wrapped underneath the foot
- If this is too intense, you can begin by bending the leg and slowly build up to extending the leg straight out
Wall Hamstring Stretch
This one is my favorite. I have found the most relief with this particular stretch.
- Lay on the floor and scoot your buttocks toward the wall. I begin in the fetal position to get in position.
- Bringing the legs up the wall, place the feet on the wall and try to straighten out the legs.
- Remain in this position until you are able to put your entire leg level with the wall.
I have found that I am never able to extend my legs at first. I sometimes stay in this position for up to 10 minutes. As my back relaxes, I can feel my pelvis actually relaxing down into the floor. As an added stretch, you can also place your hands behind your head.
These stretches, along with regular chiropractic treatments, should be seen as good back hygiene. Performed daily and weekly, your back will feel better and you will gain overall better health. Stretch your hamstrings regularly and visit The Joint to develop a treatment plan with one of the expert doctors. With no pesky appointment times to remember or long insurance forms to fill out, a visit to The Joint is often less expensive than a doctor copay.