Q: “I have always suffered from tight hamstrings and groin and I cannot seem to make any difference to my flexibility no matter how much I stretch. Can I do anything about this?”
A: Research undertaken by Spine and Body director, Peter Georgilopoulos published in “Manual Therapy” in 2011 has demonstrated that the most significant component limiting hamstring flexibility is linked to activation of the sciatic nerve associated with low back stiffness.
In this research, the effect of stretching the hamstring muscles did not result in significant flexibility after 3 minutes of prolonged stretching and was only marginally significantly improved after 6 minutes of stretching.
By comparison, mobilising (loosening) the joints of the lower back for equal amounts of time resulted in significantly improved flexibility exceeding even the 6 minute stretching group.
Peter has incorporated these principles of managing poor flexibility throughout his career including his role as Physiotherapist to the Socceroos (1991 – 2000) and the Australian Olympic Team (Sydney 2000) amongst numerous other elite sports teams and sporting events.
Failing to understand the numerous underlying causes of poor flexibility can lead to repetitive injury and impaired performance. Often the solution to this frustrating and costly problem is as simple as self monitoring dural (nerve) tightness and undertaking specific stretches and self management programmes on a regular basis.(read more by clicking on Physio Page ‘articles’)
Q: “The harder I run and train, the slower I seem to become and the less agile I feel. What can I do?”
A: Impact loading on the lower back, which is often the result of running and jumping, appears to activate nerve structures (predominantly the sciatic nerve) which in turn appears to adversely affect groin and hamstring flexibility. Trying to run and move freely under increasingly tighter leg muscles is analogous to trying to drive a car with the hand brake “on’’. You may continue to more forward but ultimately performance will be impaired and injury is imminent.
Q: “Will I need a number of sessions to achieve improved flexibility?”
A: No. Significant improvement can be achieved immediately with self monitored assessment by the athlete and a targeted management programme leading to greatly improved results.(read more by clicking on Physio Page ‘articles’)