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Here you will find great tips for healthy living, nutritional advice, and the latest news on health studies and research.
Welcome to our blog!
I recently had the opportunity to go to the Air and Water Show along Lake Michigan here in Chicago. I did a significant amount of walking and at the end of the day my low back was a bit tired. It felt fatigued. For guys who develop back issues, more specifically lower back issues, hamstring tightness is quite common and often contributes to the back pain. Did you know that tight hamstrings can alter the mechanics of your gait and change the way you should normally walk or run? It happens more often in men, however I do come across women who are particularly tight along the hamstrings. In fact, the tighter your hamstrings, the greater chance of lower back issues. Almost any issue with your lower extremity will eventually effect your lower back, if it lingers long enough. To remedy this take time to stretch the hamstrings and calf muscles several times daily and hold the stretch a minimum of 30 seconds each time you do them. A little prevention goes a long way!!
Did you know that increasing your fitness level, just a little, might help reduce your chance of dying an early death. Researchers looked at the records of more than 10,000 people and found that simply ramping up the fitness levels a from low to intermediate or higher, made men 44% less likely to die from an early death compared to the couch potato. More research is now concluding that exercise is literally the fountain of youth. Re-examine your exercise priorities now that the nice weather is upon us. Pick up the intensity just a little, it will pay off…!!
Most people know that sitting too much can contribute to obesity, but did you know that spending too much time watching the TV may contribute to blood clots in the lungs? A large study of 85,000 people suggests that adults who sit and watch more than 5 hours of television daily were more than 2.5 times likely to have a pulmonary embolism compared to those who watched less than two-and-a-half hours of TV. The authors suggest that a way to reduce this risk is to constantly stand and stretch your legs and just reduce the amount of TV time daily. Increasing physical activity can also help inhibit these types of clots!!
Would you like to live a pain free life? The chances of that happening is fairly remote, however, did you know that if you exercise, even moderately, you have the ability to live life with considerably less chronic musculoskeletal pain than those who do not exercise? Studies are showing that those people who do some exercise on a regular basis, even into later into life, are less at risk of developing chronic pain compared to those who are physically inactive. It doesn’t take much to accomplish this as studies show about 2 to 2 1/2 hours a week is all that is needed to improve your health and reduce risk of chronic pain of the ligaments, tendons, muscles and bones. Exercise has been shown to be the true anti-aging factor we all search for. It helps with back pain, arthritis, neck pain, fatigue, and even depression. It is never too late to start exercising or just slowly get back into it, if you haven’t done it in a while…! Your life and health depends on it!
Back pain comes in many varieties and the causes are even more abundant. However, some back pain can be caused by something known as forward-tipped-pelvis (FTP). This is a condition by which the pelvic bone rotates down and forward. A simple way to check for this is to look in to a mirror as you stand sideways. If the beltline is lower in front than in the back, chances are, you have it. This can create pulled muscles, stress joints and ligaments, compress spinal discs. The low back has moved into a hyperextended position. Fortunately, this is usually due to muscle imbalances around the hips, such as, too much tightness in some muscles and weakness in others. Often times just stretching the tight quadriceps muscles and strengthening the weak hamstrings will help alleviate this. This simple fix can actually help patients avoid surgery. It only take about 5 minutes of exercise daily to reduce back pain and the chances of an unnecessary surgery.
I discussed the relationship between tight hamstrings and lower back pain and how closely associated they are, especially in men. It takes a long time for guys to get the type of flexibility they need to help with lower back problems and persistence is key. Stretching should be done for a minimum of 30 seconds passively in most instances. However, with some of my tightest hamstring people, I will have them hold a stretch for 3-4 minutes. Stretch each hamstring daily 3-4 times for a 30-60 seconds and you will notice some improvement in a short while. Most older guys will never get the flexibility of their youth but just a small improvement in hamstring flexibility goes a long way to helping your back!
I cannot emphasize this enough. If you have low back problems or possibly developing some, please try to stretch your hamstrings out on a regular basis, regardless of whether you are male or female. Almost every day I see lower back patients and the most common theme between these people are tight hamstrings. Don’t get me wrong, there are also a variety of other issues to deal with but stretching the hamstrings can go a long way to preventing and alleviating chronic lower back problems when combined with the proper care!
Just as strengthening the core muscles can help prevent back problems so can stretching, especially the hamstrings. There is approximately a 90% or more correlation between tight hamstrings in men and lower back problems. Clinically, I don’t see this as often with women, as they tend to be more flexible in general. However, with my male patients, the correlation is accurate. So for all you guys out there, time to start stretching the hamstrings before it is too late!