At Entegra Health, we hope you’re all keeping safe and active where possible, at work and home. Many of you, like us, may be finding your local park especially helpful with numerous benefits to your overall mental and physical well being. Whether you walk, run, or take your pet outside for exercise, it’s important to make sure you cool down effectively and stretch afterwards to prevent tension, pain and soft tissue injuries.
Where Are the Hamstring Muscles?
The Hamstring muscle group comprises three muscles: The Biceps Femoris, Semitendinosus and Semimembranosus that originate at the Ischial tuberosity at the back of the upper thigh, and attach to the tibia (large shin bone) beneath the Patella (knee). As the Hamstring muscles attach to both hip and knee joints, they are therefore often associated with tension and/or dysfunction in these areas.
What Are the Functions of the Hamstrings Muscles?
The Hamstring muscles function in conjunction with the Quadricep muscles located at the front of the upper legs, that are responsible for flexion of the knee when walking, running and cycling; and rotation and straightening of the hips. The Hamstrings also function collectively with the Gluteal (glute) muscles, Iliopsoas, Tensor Fascia Latae (Hip Flexors), and Adductors (muscles of the inner thigh) to perform these actions.
What Tension Related Problems Can Occur in the Quads?
At Entegra Health Parkville, common tension related conditions of the Hamstrings may include muscular tension, pain or strains throughout the Hamstring muscles, reduced range of motion and/or pain in the hip, or behind the knee. Other common symptoms associated with acute Hamstring and Adductor tension, may include lower back pain.
Common aggravating factors associated with Hamstring tension may include:
- Repeated use/overuse causing strain of Hamstring muscles
- Weak/in-active Gluteal muscles
- Tight Hip Flexor muscles due to sitting for prolonged periods
- Increase in Quad weight bearing loads (i.e weighted squats)
How Can I Reduce Lower Back Muscular Tension?
At Entegra Health, we highly recommend consulting your Remedial Massage therapist during your treatment (or via a Telehealth appointment), to determine the most appropriate management plan for you. Common management plans may include a combination of regular Remedial Massage treatments, and self care options including stretches and/or strengthening exercises, to effectively reduce general muscular tension of the Hamstring muscles between Remedial Massage treatments.
Many simple stretches exist to effectively lengthen and reduce tension in the Hamstrings (see Entegra Health stretch library). Stretching the Hamstring muscles may also assist in the reduction of tension in the hips, knees and lower back (lumbar) spine.
Strengthening | Hamstring Stretch
Strengthening the Hamstrings and Gluteal muscles is important to effectively support stabilization of the pelvis, hips, knees and legs. Exercises to strengthen the Hamstring muscles include glute bridges, hamstring curls and strength based training including deadlifts using free weights, such as kettlebell deadlifts. Many of these exercises also effectively strengthen surrounding muscles including the Glutes and Abdominals.
For further information regarding stretches, home care, Remedial Massage, or treatment options, please contact us via email. Access to free online resources including stretch and exercise video resources can also be found on our website.