So if sitting is the new smoking then what can we do about it? Have a desk job or do you spend long hours traveling? Do you find that your hamstrings are always tight? Well, this stretch is something that will help low back pain, and postural dysfunction all at the same time. Yup, and in two minutes your back and your hips will likely feel better!
The primary muscle involved in sitting and hip flexion is called the iliopsoas or the psoas muscle. Its prime function is to flex the hip. The reason this muscle so important is because it attaches to the lumbar spine. Sitting for long periods of time and excessive hip flexion (commonly seen in runners and sprinters) can tighten the muscle to a point where it can affect your stride (decreasing its length), affecting the pelvis, and also creating low back pain.
A chronically shortened muscle (that goes for any muscle) is considered weak. A muscle that is tight is often tender, has increased muscle tone and therefore also has a decreased blood supply. In addition, a tight muscle will throw off alignment by pulling two joints (or the joints that it crosses) closer together.
Since the iliopsoas attaches on the anterior or front part of the lumbar spine and to the hip joint, pulling these two surfaces closer often results in pelvic unleveling (tilting), create a hyperlordosis (increasing the curve) and even cause that “my hamstrings have always been tight” phenomenon. An increase in the curve within lumbar spine can cause compression on the disc and narrow the joint spaces which may cause low back pain, a pinched nerve, arthritis, degenerative disc disease and other hosts of problems.
Stretching out the muscle will help blood flow, and take pressure off the joint by decreasing the compression on the spine! Finally, you will also notice that you have more flexibility and an increase in mobility within the hips.
Want to check out the video? Click here to see how to stretch the hip.
How has this stretch helped you?