If hamstring stretching exercises are painful, or impossible, I hope the following can give you some tips. Myofascial release is achieved by relieving muscle tension, and fascial tension. The fascia is the wrapping that goes around, and connects the muscle groups in the body.

If this fascia, which has the quality of plastic wrap, or a cobweb like wrapping, has experienced impact or tearing, it is no longer slippery-slidey, Wirbelkanalstenose but has become abrasive and sticky on its surfaces. Repetitive stretching will not necessarily help get you more flexible.

Hamstring condition

Often this tight hamstring condition is accompanied by low back pain. Regardless of the flexibility normally experienced in the low back, it will be compromised by myofascial tension coming from the hamstrings.

Believe it or not, I recommend that you learn to release myofascial tension starting at the scalp and neck muscles. The reason for this is, studies have shown that releasing fascia from the top down, is what works the best.

For instance, leading dance medicine specialist Lisa Howell shows that when a dance student who wants do the splits, she or he gets more flexible by relieving the tension in the scalp and neck. Then the legs will separate toward the splits more, and the hamstring will be more stretchy.

Why? Because the fascia is one big connected wrap. Your hamstrings are tight. So tight that you get a pull up into your low back. Yet I am saying go up further in the body, and learn a simple massage and some simple resistance stretches for neck and shoulder area.

Then, add a simple to learn and easy to do hamstring stretch. One that you can do before during and after walking, or doing an intense workout.

To support your goal to get more flexible in your hamstrings, and relieve your low back pain, you can also learn a simple to perform stretch for your hip area. This you do sitting on a chair, and it is easy. Again you can do it before exercise, just very gently, suggesting to your muscles that they relax a little.

After a workout and you are very warmed up, you can repeat the same hip stretch with a little more effort. Just as you do a gentle hamstring stretch before exercising, now you will also do one with more effort to stretch out the muscles.

Stretching out the low back muscles is a side bend type of stretch. Once learned, you will do it gently before exercising, and then more vigorously afterward.

To get more sore muscles relief, you may also decide to learn a routine with a sports ball, a Pinkie ball. Learning simple massage techniques, gently applied, is a handy knowledge to have. Sometimes you just cannot find the time or extra cash for a professional therapeutic massage.

A visual professional demonstration is best to learn these stretches proficiently, and they are available! As you practice good stretching exercises frequently, you will get the benefit you desire from your hamstring stretching exercises.

Spinal & Pelvic Pain Stabilization Exercise

Spinal pain is very common, and has been a frequent topic in my Research Reviews over the years. The estimated lifetime prevalence for cervical (neck) pain is 35-40%, 11-15% for thoracic (mid-back) pain, 60-80% for lumbar (low back) pain, and 15% for pelvic pain. Despite our best efforts clinically and with advanced imaging, the exact cause of most cases of spinal pain remains elusive.

In the early 1990s, Panjabi proposed a mechanism for the development and recurrence of spinal pain. His model focused on spinal stability, which assumes that three subsystems are responsible for the biomechanical stability of the spine – the articular (or passive), muscular (or active), and neural subsystems.

This theory was expanded to include the pelvic joints in the late 1990s (by Vleeming et al.), while other groups were beginning to discover the importance of deep spinal muscles in low back pain patients (the Queensland, Australia physiotherapy group – Jull, Hodges, Richardson, Hides etc.), and developing biomechanical models of the spine which would revolutionize spinal rehabilitation (McGill and colleagues at the University of Waterloo).

Collectively, this work has generated numerous advances in low-tech spinal rehabilitation that has changed the way we approach and treat spinal pain conditions. Stabilization exercise now forms a cornerstone of spinal treatment being administered successfully by many professions.

The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review of the literature investigating the efficacy of stabilization exercise for spinal and pelvic pain. Randomized clinical trial were included if they met the following inclusion criteria:
• participants had to be adults (> 18 years old) with pain in the cervical, thoracic, low back, or pelvic area
• symptoms could be referred to the arms or legs
• studies had to mention explicitly that at least on group received specific stabilization exercise – described as activating, training, or restoring the function of specific muscles of the spine or pelvis
• stabilization exercise could be applied in isolation or with other therapies
• at least one of the following outcomes had to be reported: disability, pain, return to work, number of episodes, global perceived effect, or health-related quality of life

All relevant and customary databases were searched, yielding 194 studies, 13 of which met inclusion criteria and were included in the review. The authors provide a study-by-study breakdown, from which the following relevant findings and trends were observed:

  • overall, there is some evidence that specific stabilization exercise produces modest beneficial effects for people with spinal and pelvic pain
    • stabilization exercise was, in general, superior to no treatment, or treatments such as usual care and education
    • the effects of stabilization exercise did not appear to be any greater than effects of spinal manipulation of conventional physiotherapy (but all are considered beneficial)
    • specific stabilization exercise was not effective in reducing pain or disability in acute low back pain (however, there is some evidence that it can reduce recurrence after an episode of acute low back pain)
    • specific stabilization exercise is beneficial in the management of chronic low back pain
    • single trials show promise for stabilization exercise in the treatment of cervicogenic headache, neck pain, and pelvic pain

Conclusions & Practical Application:

Overall, this review indicates that specific stabilization exercise is useful in the treatment of many types of spinal pain.

A few points mentioned above deserve further discussion. First, the fact that stabilization exercise seemed ineffective for acute low back pain shouldn’t be a surprise. Those of us who see acute low backs know that these patients respond best to pain relieving interventions like spinal manipulation, acupuncture, electrotherapy, ice etc. Once pain is alleviated, then a stabilization program can begin.