The daily wear and tear that we put on our bodies and our backs can cause pain and other issues, so stretching is extremely important. It helps to maintain the body's normal range of motion along with increasing flexibility, which is vital to helping to keep your body healthy, especially as we get older!
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Most people will suffer from sciatica at some point in their lives, and it can be very severe. Did you know that there is a simple hamstring stretch that can help to relieve that pain? You may wonder what a hamstring stretch has to do with sciatica, and for that we need to explain what the hamstring is. It is actually a group of three muscles in the back of the thigh, that run from the bottom of the pelvis to the back of the knee. The hamstring muscle's main purpose is to bend the knee as well as to create hip extension. The way that the hamstring relates to sciatica is that it is the sciatic nerve that sends motor and sensory signals to the muscle. So if the hamstring is tight it can pinch the nerve, which leads to sciatic pain.
Stretching the muscles in the hamstring and keeping it loose allows for less pinching of the nerve along with better movement. And one of the easiest ways to do this is by performing this this simple stretch every morning:
- First, sit on the edge of the bed with your legs hanging down.
- Second, stretch out one leg straight in front of you while keeping your knee locked to ensure optimal stretching.
- Next, sit up straight with your shoulders back, and then slowly lean forward slightly towards the outsretched leg, keeping it as straight as possible while you do. Be careful not to overstretch! It should not hurt, but you should feel a bit of a pull at the back of the leg.
- Hold the stretch for between 30 seconds to one minute. Then release the stretch and rest for 30 seconds before repeating with the other leg. Do the stretch at least 3 times for each leg.
This stretch needs to be done every morning to begin to see any benefit from it. But because it is very simple and can be done quickly, it is ideal for everybody!
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!