Hamstring injuries are a type of muscle strain most commonly experienced by athletes and sports people. Depending on the severity of the strain, a hamstring injury can cause sudden pain and tenderness, swelling and bruising, a popping sensation, or a reduction of strength in the affected leg.
What is a hamstring?
The hamstring is a collective term describing a group of three muscles in the back of the thigh — the semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and biceps femoris.
A hamstring injury occurs when these muscles become torn or overextended. It’s very unlikely that a hamstring injury will occur through normal day-to-day activities. However, movements that involve bending the knee like climbing, sprinting, lunging, or jumping can lead to hamstring injuries.
For this reason, they are most common in individuals who partake in vigorous exercise and sports. Injuring the hamstring increases the likelihood of a reoccurrence in the future, as the condition can cause the muscles to weaken.
A failure to properly stretch before exercising or a muscular imbalance between the hamstring and other muscles in the legs such as the glutes or quadriceps can also increase the risk of a hamstring injury.
Diagnosing and treating a hamstring injury
Most hamstring injuries are self-diagnosed and treated with rest, ice, compression, elevation, and short-term use of pain-relieving medication. After a few days of rest, gentle exercise can help to avoid muscle atrophy and the formation of scar tissue.
Returning to the previous level of activity too soon can do more harm than good. To properly heal, most hamstring injuries require the avoidance of any strenuous movement for a few weeks, if not longer.
Doctors and physiotherapists grade hamstring injuries on a scale between one and three, with one being the least severe.
Grade one injuries are mild strains and should heal within a few days. Grade two or three hamstring injuries refer to a partial or complete muscle tear. These injuries can cause debilitating pain and may severely limit movement.
If you are concerned about the severity of your symptoms or you don’t notice an improvement after a period of rest, you can consult your doctor who may refer you to a physiotherapist. Alternatively, there is also a range of effective chiropractic treatments for healing hamstring injuries.
Alternative therapies for healing hamstring injuries
Chiropractors use a combination of deep tissue massage, elective muscle stimulation, and ultrasound to relieve the symptoms of a hamstring injury and promote recovery.
These alternative treatments aim to loosen joint and muscle tightness, increase flexibility, and break up scar tissue. A chiropractor has also undergone training to identify any muscle imbalance that may have led to the injury in the first place.
Your chiropractor may also make adjustments in other areas of your body such as your ankle, foot, knee, pelvis, or spine. Once the symptoms have begun to subside, your chiropractor will most likely prescribe a program of light stretching and muscle strengthening exercises, focusing on the hamstring and quadriceps.
If you are experiencing pain or a loss of movement as a result of a new or recurring hamstring injury, contact Michigan Chiropractic Specialists, a trusted provider of treatments for healing hamstring injuries in MI.