The hamstrings are a group of muscles in the back part of the upper leg. If these soft tissues are tight, added stress can be placed on the lower back. This can be a problem if you also have issues with sciatica, which affects the long nerve that starts in the lower back and moves downward. Fortunately, there are some simple stretches you can do to relieve sciatica pain by targeting your hamstrings. Here are two of them.
A towel stretch is an easy type of hamstring-targeting stretch that’s done to gently stimulate and sufficiently loosen rear thigh muscles. All you’ll need is a medium-sized towel or yoga strap and a comfortable spot on the floor. Get started by lying down in your preferred spot. Next, do your towel hamstring stretches by:
After you finish with one leg, go back to your original pre-stretch position and repeat the stretch with the other leg. Aim for 2–3 reps per leg. If you experience lower back discomfort while doing towel stretches, bend the leg that was flat about 90 degrees at the knee while keeping your foot on the ground to ease stress on your lumbar spine.
Another simple, easy, and effective hamstring stretch is the wall stretch. Get started with wall stretches by getting up against the edge of a couch or wall. Keep one foot firmly on the floor and the other one against the arm of the couch or wall and complete the stretch by:
If the stretch is too uncomfortable for you at first, slightly bend your knee instead of trying for the 90 degrees at the hips until your hamstrings loosen some. When done, lower the leg that was against the wall or couch. Follow the steps above with the other leg to stretch the hamstring on the other side. Aim for 2–3 wall stretches per leg.
If hamstring stretches aren’t easing your sciatica-related discomfort all that much, see what your doctor or Los Angeles spine surgeon has to say. There may be another source of sciatica symptoms not related to your hamstrings that has to be treated. But if hamstring stretches do help, make regular exercise of this nature part of your daily routine, with your doctor’s approval.
If sciatica is causing your back pain, treatments can vary widely, from ice and heat applications to physical therapy to back fusion alternatives. Los Angeles patients should see their spine specialist for an accurate diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan. The spinal health experts at The Spine Institute have years of experience with all aspects of back health. Call one of our friendly representatives today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.