I have had a problem lately with my hamstrings. They are always stiff and my back hurts. I cannot even bend over to touch my toes. I am constantly stiff and feel like I cannot move around very easily.
It has come to my attention that stretching tight hamstrings just does not seem to work. I have been stretching every day for years and it does not help at all. I am not sure why I allowed myself to stretch or so long with no results without quitting prior. I think it was because it was hammered into my head so much that tight hamstrings need to be stretched that I ignored the evidence that was right in my face.
I have been reading more and more about tight hamstrings over the past few months. One thing I had not previously considered is that sometimes it is nerve tissue and not muscle tissue which limits the genetic length of the hamstring. You cannot stretch nerve tissue and it will not “loosen up” if you keep tugging on it. If anything, you will just irritate the nerve and make your pain worse!
Nerves do not contract in the first place so they cannot relax at all from stretching, and you certainly cannot not lengthen them as your genetics determine the length of your nerves and this is practically completely unalterable.
Another thing I found of interest was that the nervous system actively regulates the length of muscle tissue. Your brain may limit the amount of motion you get out of your tight hamstrings because it does not think that it is safe for you to get any more motion out of them. If you have back pain like I do it is entirely possible for your body to say no thanks to stretching and tight hamstrings and instead lock up the hamstrings so that your injured back stays in place. This is a bracing mechanism and effectively creates a splint across the spine. Interesting stuff to say the least.