A Canadian chiropractor who specializes in natural approaches to health problems says that 80% of his patients actually have overly tight hamstrings, resulting in lower-back pain. He explains, “Your hamstrings are the muscles that run from behind your knees to the bottom of your pelvis. If they are tight, there is a constant downward pull on your pelvis. Since your pelvis is the foundation of your lower back and spine, this contributes to an unstable lower back and a greater chance of intermittent sprains and strains.” Even regular professional treatment won’t correct the back pain problem if the root cause is not eradicated. To test for overly tight hamstrings, lie flat on your back, legs relaxed, and have someone lift your leg by the foot to a 90 degree angle. If this is difficult, you need to stretch.

An easier exercise is to sit in a hurdlers stretch – one leg tucked behind your buttock, one leg flat on the ground, outstretched in front of you. Lean forward until you feel a stretch anywhere along the back of your thigh or knee. Alternatively, tuck in your resting leg with the foot resting on the inner thigh of the leg being stretched. It is important to keep your back straight, and only go to the point where you feel a comfortable stretch. Slinging a towel around your outstretched foot and holding both ends may be more comfortable. Breathe normally throughout. He recommends stretching hamstrings later in the day after a good warm-up, when lots of blood is going through your muscles. He says that he witnessed dramatic improvements in patients who stuck to this simple regimen for one to three months.

NB: A woman must only exercise in privacy within the confines of her home.