Stretch Your Hamstrings, Soothe Your Back

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Hamstring Stretch

Benefit: Tight hamstrings can contribute to lower back pain by pulling on the back part of the pelvis where they attach (the sitting bones) and thus creating tension in the low back. This simple forward bend will help stretch the backs of your legs while releasing muscular tension in your back.

Begin by facing a clear surface on your desk, about three to four feet away it. Bring your feet about hip distance apart, toes pointing straight forward. Place your hands on your lower abdomen and your fingers on your hip creases (this is the area where your upper thighs where crease when sitting). Bend your knees and begin to bend forward. Go about halfway toward the floor, folding from your hip creases. Be sure that you don’t bend from the lower back because this can put pressure on your spinal disks. Bend your knees deeply enough that your spine feels long and straight.

Once you know you are bending at the correct place while maintaining a straight back,  place your hands on your desk to help support your body as you lean forward. You can straighten your knees if this feels comfortable. You will feel this stretch in your hamstrings (the back of your legs). Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds taking deep slow inhalations/exhalations. You may notice that with your exhalations that you gain a little movement in your stretch.

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The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.