“I know I should stretch more.” This statement is made by nearly EVERY ONE of my patients on their first day, regardless of what brings them into the office. Stretching can play a large role in the rehab process, but more importantly, proper flexibility is key in injury PREVENTION. Tightness in the muscles around your hips greatly impacts the function of your back and your knees. If you have pain in your low back or the front of your knee, your hamstrings and hip flexors may be to blame.
Your hamstrings attach on the backside of your pelvis and at the back of your knees. They’re like taut rubber bands that serve to bend your knee, extend your hip, and rotate the pelvis and low back into flexed or bent position. Too much tightness in the hamstring can encourage too much flexion of the low back, increasing pressure on the lumbar discs. Inflexible hamstrings can also lead to difficulty straightening your knee fully, leading to increased pressure on the knee cap while walking and climbing stairs.
Your hip flexors are a group of muscles that attach on the front of your leg and the pelvis. They lose their flexibility after prolonged sitting and can cause significant low back pain in middle age and elderly individuals. When too tight, this muscle group can pull the pelvis and cause the lumbar spine to hyperextend. This extended position can wreak havoc on those with lumbar spinal stenosis or arthritis in their spines.
It is important to understand the PROPER way to stretch these muscles. Those days of reaching down to touch our toes or bending our knees backwards are long gone. In the video below, I cover a more effective way to stretch your hamstrings and hip flexors to prevent injury and keep you moving with ease!
If you are dealing with back or knee pain, click below to schedule your free discovery visit with a physical therapist at Buffalo Rehab Group.