By now, almost everyone should know how important stretching is to keeping not just the back but the entire body healthy. Stretching is important because it increases flexibility and helps maintain the normal range of motion in the body. This is especially true as we age, because the daily wear and tear on our body can cause pain and other damage.
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You may be wondering how a hamstring stretch can help with Sciatica pain. First, we need to examine the hamstring muscle. For those who don't know, the hamstring is a muscle that runs along the back of the thigh and attaches at the back of the knee and the bottom of the pelvis. It's made up of three muscles and its main purpose is to bend the knee as well as create hip extension. The hamstring relates to sciatica because it is the sciatic nerve that sends motor and sensory signals to the hamstring. So, if the hamstring is tight it might cause pinching on the nerve and lead to sciatic pain. Being able to stretch out the muscles in the hamstring allows for better movement and less pinching of the nerve.
One of the easiest ways to keep the hamstring muscle loose is by performing this simple stretch every morning:
- Sit on the edge of the bed so that your legs hang down
- Stretch one leg straight out in front of you, with your knee locked for optimal stretching
- While sitting up straight and keeping your shoulders back, lean forward slightly towards the outstretched leg. Keep the leg as straight as possible while doing so.
- Hold the stretch between 30 seconds to a minute. Make sure not to overstretch to the point that it hurts. You should feel a pull at the back of the leg.
- Release the stretch, rest for 30 seconds, then do it again. Then switch legs and repeat.
It is important to do this stretch every day for you to see any benefit from it. However, the stretch is very simple and only takes a few minutes each day, making it ideal for everyone!
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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