MARY FISCHER, MS, PT: Are you sitting right now? Do you sit most of your workday, like many of us do? That puts you at risk for having tight hamstrings. That might not seem so bad, but actually you can develop low back pain from having tight hamstrings. So let's take a look at the anatomy of the hamstring and the low back to see what the relationship is.
So, here we are with Kate to learn a little bit more about the intimate relationship of your hamstrings to your lumbar spine.
The hamstrings insert on the ischial tuberosity, which is the sit bone -- it's part of the pelvis -- and extend all the way down to the knee. When they're tight, however, they shorten and hence pull down on the pelvis, giving Kate a posterior pelvic tilt here and then flattening out her lumbar spine so that she's lost that natural curve of the lumbar spine. And it puts her at risk for a herniated disk and also just overuse and strain of the lumbar area.
So to maintain a good hamstring length, if you're sitting a lot, you can do some stretches right at your desk. So she's going to scoot to the edge of the chair and extend the leg that she's stretching and reach forward. Keep your spine straight and you're going forward with your sternum. Think of your breastbone taking you forward and she's keeping this nice long line here. And you can see how she's really extended that area.
You should hold any stretch for about ten to fifteen seconds. And you didn't bounce into the stretch, so that's good. You don't want to bounce and over-stretch your muscle. And of course, you should always do both sides, so you're nice and even.
So that's a quick stretch you could do at your desk to avoid hamstring tightness and hence avoid low back pain.
So thanks for joining us.
KATE: Thank you.
MARY FISCHER, MS, PT: And thank you for tuning in to Working Well.