There is a common misconception that hamstring pulls occur only during strenuous physical activity. A hamstring pull can occur due to any activity and impair your mobility. With help from your physiotherapist and rehab team you will be up and running in no time at all.
Causes of Pulled Hamstring
The pulled hamstring is a colloquial term for a hamstring injury or a hamstring strain. The term “pulled hamstring” is derived from the cause of the injury which occurs due to the overstretching of a muscle or pulling. The overstretching might cause a minor strain on the muscle, a partial tear of the muscle or complete tear of the muscle.
How does physiotherapy and rehab help?
Treatment for hamstring injuries is focused around physiotherapy and a rehabilitation program.
1. Pain reduction through RICE
The RICE treatment refers to rest, ice, compression and elevation which is the first line of treatment for muscle injuries. Ice packs are recommended for individuals with muscle injuries to reduce inflammation. The patient is also recommended oral medication to decrease pain and inflammation. Physiotherapists recommend painless gentle passive range of motion and active assistive range of motion exercises throughout your rehabilitation process. Rest is important in the healing process and hence is the most important part of the treatment program to begin with. To lessen the work load of your injured muscle during any movement, assistive equipment is advised.
2. Range of motion exercises
Range of motion exercises and strengthening exercises are performed only after the injury pain and inflammation has subsided. Your therapist might recommend light isometric exercises for strength building. The exercises increase in intensity as the treatment progresses and the patient regains range of motion.
3. Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Electrical nerve stimulation is performed through the early stages of the injury and is continued on. In the initial stages, the therapy is used for pain relief while in the later stages, it is used for healing injuries and increasing muscle contraction.
4. Core strength exercises
Once the injury starts healing, the therapist concentrates on building core strength of the muscle through gentle resistance exercises. Muscle strengthening exercises are conducted with the help of resistance bands and free weights and repetitions are increased as the patient shows progress. The intensity of the exercises depends on the severity of the hamstring injury. Core strength exercises with the help of mat and Swiss ball might also be recommended as long as they don’t cause any unease.
To decrease the chances of these types of muscle strains it is very important to maintain a daily stretching routine. Consult your therapist as to what will work best for you.Hamstring pull is a very common type of injury whose recovery time depends on the severity of the injury. Those with a minor bruise could get better within a week, but those who suffer partial or complete muscle tear might take several weeks before returning to normal activities. In case of moderate or severe hamstring pull, always seek help from a trained professional like a physiotherapist or sports medicine expert, otherwise the injury may persist.