In today’s world, most of us spend too much time sitting. Few muscles in our lower body get affected more than our hamstrings if we are in the seated position too often and too long. Your hamstrings are a group of 3 different muscles that originate at the ischium bone of the pelvis. The ischium is the bone you sit on, as you can see in the picture to the Left. The hamstrings run down the back of the thigh and attach across the knee joint on both the inside and outside of the knee (the inside muscle is not highlighted here). The hamstring muscles have two primary actions:
1) flex the knee (bend the knee)
2) extend the hip (pulling your upper leg back)
Some people are very familiar with this area because of Sciatica, or pain that shoots down the back of the leg. The Hamstrings get their nerve power from a branch of the Sciatic nerve, which originates from the L4, L5, and Sacrum nerve roots. This makes it even more critical to make sure that your lumbar spine and pelvis are in proper alignment! Getting adjusted is imperative to correct hamstring function, but adjustments alone CANNOT undo hours of sitting! Sitting naturally tightens the hamstring because your knee is constantly flexed (bent). Hamstring stretches should be done daily if you are someone who spends more than a couple hours per day sitting at a desk, on a couch or driving/riding in a vehicle.
Here are 4 basic hamstring stretches: