Pulled Hamstring Home Treatments
To treat hamstring pain and restore strength and range of motion in your hamstring muscles, treatment should focus on preventing scar tissue formation and muscle atrophy (shrinkage and weakening of the muscle). Proper treatment will get you back to regular activities sooner, stop your pain, and reduce the risk of future re-injury. This requires rest and the appropriate therapies at the right time.
Almost all types of hamstring pulls and tears (except a complete hamstring rupture) can be properly treated with trusted therapies that are available for use at home. Complete ruptures usually require surgery. However, using these home therapies after surgery can help speed recovery, improve function, and increase range of motion in your hamstrings.
Patient education and self-management are very important in recovering from a hamstring injury or pulled hamstring. Evaluate how you use your thigh muscles in daily activities to determine if you can decrease stress on your tissues. This may involve changing your technique and/or using correct or supportive equipment (proper shoes, mobility aids) to help you perform them more effectively and safely. Taking more frequent breaks during your work or activities can also alleviate stress. Speak with an occupational therapist or a professional in your specific activity or work setting to get the proper information.
Gradually Increase Activity
Once the pain from your pulled hamstring starts to decrease, a physiotherapist or athletic trainer can set up an individualized strengthening, endurance and stretching exercise program for you to rebuild your hamstring and leg muscles. A gradual build-up to your regular activities is essential during your rehabilitation to restore strength, fitness and co-ordination. Generally you will start with passive range of motion and isometric exercises (strength building exercises that involve contractions against resistance without moving your joints). Once you complete these with minimal pain, you will be able to participate in more dynamic movements and strengthening activities (like hamstring curls, squats, lunges, deadlifts, elastic tube exercises, water exercises, stationary cycling, walking, elliptical training and/or weight training). When tenderness is gone and you are able to fully tense the hamstring without any pain, you can gradually return to jogging or higher impact activities for short periods of time. It is important to stop if you feel any twinges of pain.
Aggressive stretching (yoga) too soon may stress your hamstring muscles and cause more aggravation. However, gentle stretching will be essential to regain normal tissue flexibility and prevent against scar tissue development (straight leg seated or standing stretching). Daily stretching (a few times a day) in which you hold stretches for 15 - 30 seconds each is recommended once you are ready. Use pain as your guide whether you are ready to move on to the next level or not.
Avoidance of aggravating activities (any activity that involves repeated bouncing movements or "stops and starts") and activity modification (pursuing less strenuous, weight bearing routines) are recommended. It is suggested that you start at 50% of what you would normally do, and increase gradually as you see improvement in your condition. Warm up, with light jogging or a BFST® treatment and cool down, your leg after your activity. Individuals will often exercise or lift weights on their own to try and build up their strength; however in doing so, they can do more damage. A medical or fitness professional will help to ensure your rehabilitation process is effective.
Use Supportive Devices
To increase your comfort and prevent further damage you may want to use an upper thigh support (neoprene sleeve or brace), strapping, tape, or compression short which will help support the area, eliminate pulled muscles, and reduce stress on the injured tissue. Some of these are also designed for heat retention to prevent further strain. They can be used until your injury is gone or during active sports for additional stability. However they should not be worn at all times, as they can limit muscle development, cut off circulation and impede healing of your muscle tissue.
Cold Compression Therapy
The initial treatment of a hamstring injury or re-injury is cold compression therapy. Treating an injury with cold compression therapy as soon as you can is important because it decreases swelling and inflammation. This limits the amount of tissue damage that occurs within the first 72 hours of an acute strain.
When a hamstring pull or tear occurs we think the damage is done at the time of the injury. In reality, the tissue damage continues to occur even after the injury has happened. Yes, at the time of the injury blood vessels are damaged. But after the injury, swelling and inflammation set in and block blood vessels causing further damage. When this happens you will notice a hamstring contusion (hamstring bruising).
Blood contains oxygen that is vital to the survival of your tissue cells. Blocked blood vessels can no longer carry blood to your cells and the cells begin to break-down further damaging your injured hamstring. By applying cold compression therapy to a fresh injury or re-injury you reduce tissue damage and reduce the amount of healing that will be required to get your hamstring muscles and tendons back to normal.
Aside from preventing tissue damage, cold compression therapy reduces pain by gently numbing nerves in the injured area and providing comforting support to your hamstring muscles. Initially, you may use pain killers or anti-inflammatory medications but these can affect your organs and should never be used for a long period of time. Cold compression therapy is the natural way to reduce upper leg pain quickly.
The Leg/Arm Freezie Wrap® cold compression therapy is an effective and innovative way to treat your painful hamstring symptoms. The therapy behind the Freezie Wrap® has been doctor recommended for centuries but the Freezie Wrap® itself is a new, safer way to get it!
The cooling gel packs inside the Freezie Wrap® have been designed with ColdCure Technology®. This allows the pack to be supercharged in the fridge, not in the freezer like ice or other freezer packs. This gives you deep cold compression therapy without the risk of 'cold burns' or cryoburn to the layers of your skin. This unique technology, inside a soft and completely adjustable neoprene wrap, gives you comfortable, convenient, and effective cold compression therapy.
Have a Leg/Arm Freezie Wrap® on hand to treat your hamstring after activity and following any re-injury to calm inflammation, treat pain quickly, and stop further tissue damage. The wrap is so versatile you can use it on your arm, foot, calf, and almost everywhere on your body. Have one in your fridge ready when you need it!
Click here to learn more about Cold Compression Freezie Wraps®
Once the initial swelling and severe inflammation of your hamstring injury is under control, you can begin the healing process. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ will drastically improve blood flow and kick start the healing process.
Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ - Faster Healing
Once inflammation and swelling have been reduced in your hamstring muscles, nourishing and strengthening the tissue in your upper leg should be your goal. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®) promotes blood flow to the treatment area bringing the necessary oxygen and nutrients to your muscle fibers. BFST® speeds up the body's natural repair process for faster healing and stronger tissue.
When you rest and stop moving your leg because it hurts, the natural blood flow is reduced. Without proper blood flow, musclar atrophy (shinkage or deterioration of a muscle) can occur as your body's ability to heal itself becomes limited. You need to improve blood flow while giving your hamstring the rest it needs. That's where the Inferno Wrap® comes in.
Not only does the Inferno Wrap® speed your recovery through BFST®, the gentle warming that is produced with the increase in blood flow relaxes your thigh muscles and and whisks away dead cells and toxins that have accumulated from your hamstring strain. This further loosens your muscles and makes your hamstring feel better.
Keeping your legs as healthy and strong as possible throughout the healing process will allow you to get back to your regular activities faster. The Leg/Arm Inferno Wrap®, available exclusively from MendMeShop®, provides effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief and healing with no side effects.
The benefits of BFST® do not end once your hamstring stops hurting! Even when your upper thigh muscles have healed, your activities can put them at risk of an overuse injury, tightness, or another strain. An Inferno Wrap® treatment before activity is an easy way to warm up the muscles and prepare them for use. Then, end your day with another treatment to prevent tightness from setting in overnight. This incredible healing tool will be the ticket to healthy hamstrings for years to come!
Click here to learn more about how BFST® works.
With these easy-to-use, home therapies; cold compression and BFST®, you can treat your hamstring injury properly and completely.
- Calm Inflammation
- Reduce Swelling
- Increase Range of Motion
- Stop Pain
- Promote Blood Flow
- Speed Healing
- Prevent Atrophy
You will notice significantly reduced pain and an incredible improvement in your hamstring range of motion.
During your recovery, you may have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort in your hamstring until your pain and inflammation settle. The more dedicated you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!
Please be aware that this information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.