The hamstring muscles play a key role in daily movement with knee flexion and hip extension. Tight hamstrings, however, can cause aggravating pain in the lower back. It’s a common condition that affects most men and women. That is why proper hamstring stretches can adequately loosen up the muscles to get your body back on track.
First, let’s look at these muscles and note where they are located. A group of three muscles found on the back of your thigh makes up the hamstrings. The trio function together to help you bend your knee.
Usually, you will experience tightness coming from the hamstrings with pain in the back of your hips. Or pain will start from the inner/outer part of your knee. If you have trouble bending your knee, this can also be a sign of tightness.
Tight hamstrings are often a result of playing sports where running with rapid starts and stops are involved. Examples would include football, soccer, tennis, and basketball. Activities that use jumping also affect the hamstrings.
Personal trainers know exactly how to loosen up this trio of muscles and make you stronger. The hamstrings are large muscles that cross both the knee and hip joints. Correct stretching is important to target both joints at the same time.
One effective way is to bend forward and try to touch your toes. This simple movement stretches the hamstrings. If you’re doing it right, the stretch will be felt along the back of the thigh.
Hamstring scoops are another easy way to loosen up your tight muscles affecting the hamstrings. You can see the proper form and movement on the video. Repeat this movement pattern for 10 steps, alternating sides.
If you frequent the gym, you can try this hamstring stretching exercise. It will help strengthen the triple muscle group. It’s called seated knee curls and is performed with an exercise machine.
A physical therapist can help loosen things up when your hamstrings are out of whack. Often, heat and ice therapy are excellent for relieving tight hamstrings. The general rule goes, heat before, and ice after.
For example, heat will help your hamstrings loosen the tissue before activities. One way to do this is by applying a heat pack to the hamstring before stretching or exercising. This may help to warm up the tight muscles.
Ice is applied after your activities. Ice works by reducing the swelling and inflammatory reaction. It may help to trigger blood flow to the hamstring tightness.
Some people find that contrast treatment is beneficial. That means the hamstrings would be alternately warmed, then iced, again in an effort to stimulate blood flow to the muscles.
Don’t give up. There are a number of ways to relieve the tightness of your hamstrings. Sometimes, resting this core group of muscles is sufficient. Even walking around on crutches can take the stress off your hamstrings.
You will be able to return to normal function soon enough.