The activities that we do every day can place a tremendous amount of wear and tear on our bodies, so it is vital to stretch appropriately as needed. Even if the activities we may be doing are not that strenuous, stretching is often needed to maintain our flexibility and range of motion. Most importantly it keeps our body healthy as we age.
At some point in life, most people will experience the severe pain associated with Sciatica. The sciatic nerve travels from the lower back down both legs and all the way into each big toe, and when sciatica strikes the pain could be felt anywhere the nerve is. One of the best ways to relieve and prevent this pain is with stretching, and there is actually a very simple hamstring stretch that can do just that!
The hamstring is located in the back of the thigh and is actually made up of three muscles whose main purposes are to bend the knees and also create hip extension. The sciatic nerve runs alongside the hamstring and is responsible for sending the sensory and motor signals to the muscle, and if the muscle gets too tight it can pinch the nerve and cause sciatica pain. Fortunately, if you do this simple stretch each morning you can keep the muscle loose and help prevent any pinching from occuring:
- Sit on the edge of the bed with legs hanging down and feet on the floor if possible
- Lift one leg and stretch it out in front of you. Keep your knee locked.
- While sitting up straight with your shoulders back, lean forward slowly towards the outstretched leg until you feel a bit of a pull on the back of the leg. Keep your leg straight while doing so, and don't overstretch!
- Hold this position for between 30 seconds to 1 minute, then release and repeat with the other leg. This should be done at least 3 times with each leg.
This stretch needs to be done every morning for it to be beneficial, but because it's so easy it should be no problem for anyone to do!
At the Illinois Back Institute we strive to educate everyone as much as possible about their back pain and sciatica, because it is proven that the more people know about their problem the more likely they are to eliminate it!
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