Hamstring strains/tears are very common in athletes of all types. They often take a long time to heal, with symptoms persisting for several months. What’s perhaps more problematic is that they have a high rate for re-injury!
Why are hamstring strains so common? Many of us have adapted a posture that causes tight hips, hamstrings, and lower back muscles due to our lifestyle (i.e. sitting at a desk all day.) With the hamstrings already under constant tension and the resulting imbalance in your pelvis and hips, the muscles tend to develop micro-tears which will weaken the muscles and tendons despite your bodies effort to heal. With these compensations present it may only take one faulty step, or hard sprint to damage the muscles and ligaments sending your body into a cycle of recurrent inflammation.
At initial onset many people will try to manage the issue themselves with RICE. While this will often reduce temporary pain and swelling it is not addressing the underlying cause. Many people will wait weeks or month before seeking treatment due to “nagging pain.” This is a mistake that will make you more likely to be re-injured. Due to the multiple micro-tears, your bodies healing response is to lye down collagen (think of a scab on your muscle.) Unlike normal, healthy collagen this collagen does not have the tensile strength of normal collagen (think of a scar on your muscle.)
How do we fix it? In order to truly “fix” the issue with the hamstring(s) we have to look at the entire chain. It is likely that you have tight hips, lower back muscles, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. All these muscles must be addressed in order to effectively correct the problem. Spinal manipulation may be recommended to help restore normal biomechanics to the spine, correcting any pelvic imbalances, specific stretches/exercises will be prescribed in order to change the muscles length. Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation (IASTM) is an evidence based treatment that aims to break-up any scar tissue adhesions that may be forming on the injured muscle. Through stimulation of fibroblasts (cells that help produce healthy collagen), IASTM treatment aims to restore normal, healthy, strong tissue eliminating any abnormal tissue allowing your body to heal properly.
If you are or have been experiencing hamstring pain don’t wait! Click Here to schedule and appointment today and start healing!