Stretches To Reduce Tightness In Your Hamstring
What do you do if the tightness is in the hamstrings instead?
One hamstring stretch that helps reduce pain and stiffness is a lying hamstring stretch. This movement involves lying on your back and lifting the leg with the tight muscle in the air as much as you can. Also keep the extended leg as straight as you can. Use a resistance band or even the wall if you need help getting your leg to fully extend.
You can also do a sitting hamstring stretch. It is the same principle as the lying stretch except you do it in a sitting position. Slowly bend forward at the hip and reach for your feet. If it is too uncomfortable having both legs outstretched, bend one knee and place that foot against the inner thigh of your other leg.
A standing hamstring stretch is a great stretch for runners because you can do it right before you hit the track or trail. To do it, stand with one heel rested against the ground, your toes pointed toward the sky. Place your hands on that legs knee and bend forward at the hip. You should feel it in your hamstring muscle.
The Truth About Back Pain
When it comes to lower back discomfort, its often not the lower back at all thats causing the problem. Lots of different muscle groups are connected to the lower back, and when one of those muscles is tight it can pull on the lower back and cause pain.
For example, tight hamstrings are a common cause of low back pain. Sitting all day can cause the hip flexor muscles on the front of your pelvis to become shortened, which can also lead to lower back pain. This is why simply doing lower back stretches, although they may provide temporary relief, isnt the best way to treat your lower back pain and tightness.
What Is Active Physical Therapy
Active physical therapy involves movement-based activities like: stretching, range of motion exercises, and targeted spine strengthening and conditioning exercises.
The movements and exercises are designed to address those underlying causes of chronic back pain so you can strengthen your back, condition your muscles and improve your mobility.
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Overuse And Repetition Of Everyday Activities
Every day, the little things we do can have a big impact on the amount of stress we put on our bodies. Examples include:
- Driving or sitting for long periods of time
- Repetitive motion activities such as walking, bending over, exercising or typing
- Lifting both small and heavy objects
- Sleeping in an odd position or on an old mattress
What Causes Lower Back Pain
Many injuries, conditions and diseases can cause lower back pain. They include:
- Strains and sprains: Back strains and sprains are the most common cause of back pain. You can injure muscles, tendons or ligaments by lifting something too heavy or not lifting safely. Some people strain their back by sneezing, coughing, twisting or bending over.
- Fractures: The bones in the spine can break during an accident, like a car crash or a fall. Certain conditions increase the risk of fractures.
- Disk problems: Disks cushion the vertebrae . Disks can bulge from their position in the spine and press on a nerve. They can also tear . With age, disks can get flatter and offer less protection .
- Structural problems: A condition called spinal stenosis happens when the spinal column is too narrow for the spinal cord. Something pinching the spinal cord can cause severe sciatic nerve pain and lower back pain. Scoliosis can lead to pain, stiffness and difficulty moving.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to cause lower back pain. Ankylosing spondylitis causes lower back pain, inflammation and stiffness in the spine.
- Disease:Spine tumors, infections and several types of cancer can cause back pain. Other conditions can cause back pain, too. These include kidney stones and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
- Spondylolisthesis: This condition causes the vertebrae in the spine to slip out of place. Spondylolisthesis leads to low back pain and often leg pain as well.
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Why Are My Back Muscles Always So Tight
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
If you have morning back pain that is severe, gets increasingly common or is present every morning, or is accompanied by other symptoms, be sure to see your healthcare provider. Theyll want to look for possible causes of your pain including injury, illness, or another medical problem.
Some conditions, including fibromyalgia and lupus, may cause periodic bouts of back pain that clears up in between, so also report any back pain that comes and goesespecially if you experience fatigue, rashes, or cognitive dysfunction at the same time.
Back pain that radiates down your leg may be due to a herniated disc or sciatica .
Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about the intensity, nature, frequency, and duration of your pain as well as any symptoms that appear to be related to it.
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Effective Methods Of Relieving Back Stiffness:
If Stretching Wont Relieve My Tightness What Will
Lets go back to the example of your shoulder, upper back and neck feeling tight after using a mouse for a few hours. Using a mouse isnt difficult, but it will eventually cause muscle fatigue which induces the sensation of tightness.
But if you strengthen the muscles involved, these minor activities which would usually tire them out become no big deal because you have increased their endurance and strength capacity, that means the muscle is no longer overworking when performing the previously challenging task.
Time and time again, Ive seen patients who were once tight and stiff feel almost complete relief from their symptoms after some targeted strength training.
This leads to an important note about strength. Being strong doesnt necessarily mean youre highly athletic or built like a superhero. Strength is personal, its your capability to comfortably meet the physical demands of your life.
Everyone should be strength training, whether you work at a desk, need to keep up with your kids or want to be able to stay active as you age.
So, if youre always feeling stiff or tight, its not time for you to stretch, its time for you to get stronger!
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Why Does My Back Feel Stiff When I Wake Up
It is common for the back to feel stiff in the morning, particularly when you get up from a lying down position. Back stiffness in the morning is usually caused by:
The Dangers Of The Cycle Of Morning Back Problems
As you go to bed, the following extensive chain of events occurs:
What once was believed to be appreciated as a restful period, actually becomes an ordeal of severe discomfort.
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Age And Gender Issues
Age and gender are important factors to consider when diagnosing low back pain. In a young patient, a benign tumor of the spine called an osteoid osteoma may be the culprit. Inflammatory bowel disease in young people can be connected with spondylitis and sacroiliitis . Low back pain from disc disease or spinal degeneration is more likely to occur as people get older. Conditions such as abdominal aneurysm or multiple myeloma are also considered in older individuals.
Osteoporosis and fibromyalgia are much more common triggers of back pain in women than in men. Osteoporosis is a progressive decrease in bone density that leaves the bones brittle, porous and prone to fracture. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points in the neck, spine, shoulders, and hips.
When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
- Can’t stand or walk
- Temperature over 101.0°F
- Frequent, painful, or bloody urination
- Severe belly pain
- Pain or numbness in your leg
- Pain in a new area of your back
- The pain isnt decreasing after more than a week
- Pain radiating down the leg.
- Pain that is accompanied by fever or chills, leg weakness, or loss of control of the bladder or bowels.
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Should I Run With Back Pain
Running or jogging is a great way to stay healthy, and a great way to get a workout when going to the gym isnt an option. But what if running hurts your back? Or what if your back hurts when youre done? Why does this happen?
Between long commutes in the car, long days in the office, and binge-watching our favorite shows on Netflix, we tend do more sitting than our bodies are built to do. Sitting for long periods of time increases the pressure on the discs in your spine, causes the muscles in your upper and lower back to lose strength, and can decrease the supply of nutrients to your spinal tissue.
Avoiding back stiffness and pain from prolonged sitting can be allayed by sitting with the correct posture and performing a few basic movements and stretches to keep your muscles working. Roll your shoulders back with the ears over the shoulders and the upper arms parallel to your torso. While sitting in an office chair try to avoid constant use of the backrest and sit upright to activate your core muscles.
What Type Of Doctor Should I See For Back Pain
This depends on your condition or symptoms. If you have no obvious injury that would explain your pain, you may want to start by seeing a . This is a specialist in physical medicine who can diagnose back pain and determine whether nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy may help. Depending on those findings, a physiatrist may also refer you to a , doctor or other type of back specialist, , for additional discussion.
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Home Remedies For Lower Back Pain When Sitting
In addition to improving your posture when sitting, try these at-home remedies for lower back pain:
- Change your position. Consider a standing desk or one thats ergonomically designed to help you maintain good posture by allowing you to adjust the height of your monitor.
- Apply ice.Cold helps reduce inflammation that may be affecting your back. Leave the ice pack on for about 20 minutes, and then remove it. You can do this every hour or so.
- Use a heating pad. After any inflammation is under control , many people find heat soothing. It also promotes healing by bringing blood to your back.
- Take over-the-counter medication.Pain relievers like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce discomfort and swelling.
- Use a support. Placing a rolled-up towel or special lumbar pillow at the base of your spine while sitting will help you remember to sit up straight and provide you with some stability.
- Get a massage. This can help loosen and relax tight muscles.
- Consider yoga.Yoga is known for its ability to stretch and strengthen the body. Many programs allow for modification of the poses as needed.
There are several exercises that will help strengthen your lower back. Try these three stretching exercises to help make your back stronger and better toned:
Myofascial Pain Syndrome And/or Fibromyalgia
There are two common causes for widespread moderate body pain, both somewhat mysterious and controversial, both known for affecting the back more than other areas, and both known for their morning hijinks:
Theres likely lots of overlap between these conditions. Fibromyalgia isnt really an explanatory diagnosis it just labels a common pattern of symptoms that could have several different causes. MPS is a hypothetical problem with muscle tissue that is a possile explanation for some body pain, and that type of pain is extremely common in fibromyalgia patients.
Fibromyalgia is associated with morning back pain because:
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Chronic Low Back Pain Of No Specific Origin
Low back pain is defined as pain, tightness, and stiffness between the lower end of the rib cage and the buttocks. “Chronic” means the pain has lasted for twelve weeks or longer, and “no specific origin” means the pain cannot be traced to any specific cause, incident, or injury.
Most susceptible are individuals who perform heavy physical work, especially when there is ongoing anxiety, depression, and emotional stress at the same time. The longer the stress and back pain continue, the more difficult it is to ease the symptoms and return the patient to normal functioning.
Treatment involves nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and sometimes opioid medications for pain, though both have risks when used long term. Antidepressants may also be tried, along with psychological counseling.
Corticosteroid injections for the back are effective for some patients, and fusion surgery is sometimes attempted. Lifestyle changes in the form of improved diet, exercise, and stress management are very helpful in most cases.
Top Symptoms: lower back pain, unintentional weight loss, back pain that shoots to the butt, fever, involuntary defecation
Symptoms that always occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin: lower back pain
Symptoms that never occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin: thigh numbness, buttocks numbness, lower back pain from an injury
Urgency: Primary care doctor
Three Reasons For Stiffness In Back When Sitting
- Increased pressure on your discs
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When To See A Specialist For Lower Back Pain
If youre experiencing lower back pain thats not responding to rest and self-care, its time to consider seeing a spine specialist.
A spine specialist will likely perform a physical exam as well as one or more imaging scans to diagnose the root cause of your lower back pain. Depending on your diagnosis, he or she will then design a treatment plan aimed at alleviating your pain and preventing it from disrupting the everyday activities you enjoy, says Dr. Palmer.
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Get Exercise Throughout The Day
Regular exercise throughout the day is key to alleviating back pain. Walking is among the best exercises, and you should aim for at least 10,000 steps per day. However, anything that gets you moving and on your feet can help keep your back strong.
Also, if you have an office job that involves sitting, its important to take frequent breaks. Stand up at least once every 30 minutes and stretch. Standing desks can also help keep the pressure off your back during the day at work so you wont suffer the consequences the next morning.
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