Hamstrings, External Rotators, and Stretchsitting

craigfisher256
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Hamstrings, External Rotators, and Stretchsitting

Could there be relationship between tight hamstrings, tight external rotator muscles, and the ability to stretchsit comfortably?

I've had super-tight hamstrings for a very long time.  They're basically like boards.  I know it's something I have to fix, but I've always de-prioritized it because I've had so many other problems getting the Gokhale techniques to work in my life.

The most basic problem I've had is with stretch-sitting.  Even with the Pain Free Chair, I've tried for months to sit in the chair without pain for more than an hour or two.  I've tried lengthening/strengthening my neck.  I've tried creating an arch in my feet and kidney-bean shaping them.  I've tried working on my rib anchor.  Finally, I've tried expanding my pectorals/intercostals.  

The pain is usually in my upper back, about an inch or two above the contact point with the chair.  The thing is, I never get this kind of pain from standing (or walking or lying down).  I could never understand what's so different about sitting vs. standing on my upper back... but now I'm wondering if the pelvis has something to do with it.

Could tight hamstrings/external rotators pull on the pelvis when sitting, resulting in distortions all the way up to the upper back?  (I know this is an obvious problem for stack-sitting, but I thought stretch-sitting didn't require pelvic anteversion)

Thank you.

(fwiw, I've taken the course)

Cecily Frederick's picture
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04/03/2015 - 6:23am

Hi Craig,

Several things come to mind. 

1. Check that you aren't leaning back over the top of the chair.  It is surprisingly easy to do, depending on how tall you are and your sway habit.

2. Make sure your shoulders are well rolled back and that your work is close to you so that you aren't tempted to curl the upper spine forward.

3. Perhaps trying to sit with a stretch for an hour or two is just asking too much of yourself. Does it feel OK for 5-15 minutes?  If that is your limit, alternate between a stack and a stretch sit every quarter hour with a standing break in between. 

4. If you think you might have some kyphosis (and don't have osteoporosis) you might consider using a roller to roll the thoracic (ribcage) area of the spine.  

5. You are correct, stretch sitting doesn't require perfect pelvic anteversion.  But that doesn't mean you shouldn't continue to work toward pelvic anteversion for your stretch-stitting.  You are correct in wondering whether tight hamstrings could be impacting your sitting in a negative way.   Keep working on good form for bending, and if you can spare the time add a few extra hamstring and external hip rotator stretches (like we did in the course and the back of the book) 2-3Xs a week.

I had to work with stretch-sitting for many months before it became comfortable for me.  My mind liked the concept before my body completely embraced the action.  I'm inclined to emphasize point #3 based on my experience.

Take care, 

Cecily

craigfisher256
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AFAIK, the only real benefit of stretchsitting comes in the lower parts of the spine that are actually being stretched by the chair.  My pain and discomfort though is definitely above that.

Perhaps I'm leaning backwards.  Perhaps I'm leaning forwards.  But what I'd like to know is: can this upper-body misalignment be rooted in a poorly-positioned pelvis?

As I said, my hamstrings/external rotator are VERY tight.  Stacksitting isn't really an option for me right now unless I'm on something like a stool.

Thanks

Cecily Frederick's picture
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04/03/2015 - 6:23am

Yes - I think your upper-body misalignment could be rooted in a poorly-positioned pelvis.  Those pieces often go together.  

 

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