Note: This blog is not intended to act as medical advice. If you have any concerns over pain you might be feeling in your body, consult with your GP.
So many of us suffer from tightness in our lower back, hamstrings and hips, but what are the causes and how can Pilates help to stretch and lengthen?
There are a variety of different reasons why we suffer in these areas of the body, but tightness in your hamstrings and hips can sometimes contribute towards lower back pain.
What Creates Tightness in the Hips & Hamstrings?
As noted above, there are different reasons why you might have tightness in your hips, hamstrings and lower back, but a lot of this is likely to come down to lifestyle. A sedentary lifestyle (i.e. little to no exercise and spending a lot of time sitting down) can cause tightness in the hip flexors, which are a group of muscles at the front of the hip. When this happens, the hamstrings can often become tight as well (although there may be other reasons for hamstring tightness such as injury), which can subsequently lead to lower back ache.
Lack of movement is often the cause for muscle tightness and it may be that those muscles then become weak, as they are not being used to their full ability.
What Can I Do to Resolve This?
The first step is to stretch those areas of the body - these only need to be gentle stretches and you might need to find the ones that work best for you, depending on how tight those muscles are and your range of movement.
Here are some stretches that you can try:
Stretching on its own is unlikely to completely resolve the problem, but it will help. You need to keep the body moving and start to strengthen the body. In particular, our hips take a bit of a battering on a day to day basis when we sit down all day! They can become short and weak and we want them to be long and strong! A regular Pilates practice can help you to achieve more strength in the body, whilst incorporating stretches as well as functional movement.
You can use the above stretches at home whenever you want. If you sit at a desk all day, schedule a few times throughout the day where you can stop and do a few, or all, of these stretches to help get some movement into the body. Try to avoid sitting at your desk all day, every day.
I hope this helps alleviate some of the aching that you might feel in your lower back, hips and hamstrings.
See you on the mats.