Hamstring strains are hard to diagnose because the pain, which is in the hip and upper buttocks region, comes on slowly and is aggravated by repetitive actions such as running, rowing, and biking. It worsens as you sit longer. Hamstring injuries turn chronic when a damaged tendon does not properly heal. This usually happens because a patient returns to an activity too quickly, or they mismanage their condition. Chronic tendonitis ultimately leads to long-term pain and disability.
Let’s take a look at some treatment options:
- Rest (time away from activities), although this is true for the hamstring, cross training of a different area of the body while you rest the hamstring can combat the psychological stress associated with chronic injuries.
- Ice and heat (ice packs, baths, and ice massage helps to reduce pain and inflammation) be sure to apply for ten to twenty minutes, every two to four hours every day. Try alternating between ice and heat to create a “pump” as heat vasodilates blood vesicles and draws in fluids. This loosens fibrotic scar tissue and relaxes muscles, and ice vasoconstricts and pushes out fluid (inflammation).
- Regular stretching is necessary for recovery. Try these stretches: lying on the back, pulling the bent knee toward the chest, and slowly straightening the knee, the “hurdler” stretch, sitting with one leg straight on a bench or ground and slowly locking the knee straight while reaching for the toes; or from standing, placing the heel on a chair seat followed by arching the low back by tilting the buttocks upwards.
- A mix of concentric (bringing the heel toward the buttocks) and eccentric (straightening the knee during a hamstring curl) These exercises will typically benefit patients with chronic high hamstring tendinopathy.
Chiropractic care is great for helping the muscoskeletal area in hamstring injuries, but physical therapy gets to the core of the problem by treating the muscles and soft tissues to repair and rehabilitate. Be sure to contact us if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort in your hamstring. We are here to help.