Monday, November 1, 2010

How to Solve Lower Back Pain and Tight Hamstrings

When I was competing in Nova Scotia and at Dalhousie I suffered from back pain as many people do whether they are an athlete or not. However at that time my L5 sat posterior on my S1, so I went to physio and did a lot of core work. My problem was easily fixed. This isn’t always the case for everyone though. I was lucky.

Some of you may not know but your back can be directly effected by the hamstrings! Yep I said it your hamstrings…those muscles in the back of your legs. Below is a picture of the back of your legs. Your hamstrings are made up of the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and the semimembranosus.

When your hamstrings are tight they can limit your mobility and cause back pain as well. The reason is that tight hamstrings will tilt the pelvis backwards which flattens the lumbar curvature also known as the lordotic curve of the lower back. When your core is weak this pain can be even stronger.
Trainers use tests to determine injuries or problematic areas. One such test is the leg raise test (lie supine, limbs horizontal, one heel is to be lifted and the hip joint with the knee extended.) Sometimes there is pain when this performed and it is commonly confused with sciatic pain.

When I was in Ottawa competing for the Ottawa Lions I think that I was misdiagnosed with the sciatic vs hamstrings because I have had really tight hamstrings in the past and now that I stretch more I have less pain when running. Another example that stretching has massive benefits, and should never be forgotten. Also, make sure to work on the core muscles to have a good posture to help prevent pain.

Also LADIES this lordotic curve that can be effected by tight hamstrings effects your booty! So if your desiring a nice firm butt don’t just do squats and lunges till the cows come home work on your hamstring flexibility so you see that lordotic curvature in your back because it will help accentuate your rear end!

[Alicia Bell is an Elite Personal Trainer, NCCP Sprint Coach, and a Training Advisor for RIVALUS.]

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