‘My hamstrings are always tight! I’ve been stretching and stretching and nothing seems to help’ is a common complaint we hear in the clinic. People religiously stretch every evening and still nothing changes!
How is it possible that stretching a muscle does not relieve the tight feeling?
Being physically tight and feeling tight are two different things – often we will see people who feel tight, still able to bend over and get their hands to the floor, whilst other who have no tightness can barely make it past their knees.
Physio starts with working out WHY your hamstrings are feeling tight. First things first we need to understand what kind of tightness you’re dealing with – only then can the tightness be fixed.
1. For shortened muscles: massage, foam rolling, needling, stretching will help to lengthen the tissues.
2. For tightness due to muscle weakness: a carefully designed strengthening program, will be developed. This program will look at exercises designed to lengthen your muscles while they are working against weight.
3. For nerve irritation: we dial back all the stretching and focus on spine joint mobilisation, massage and posture changes. Then we can work out why the nerve irritation started in the first place.
If you have been feeling tight in your muscles, most commonly the hamstrings or gluteals, and you have been religiously stretching them for > 3 weeks with no significant improvement – then it is obvious there is more to it than the muscle simply being tight. Book into physio and have a thorough assessment.