Speeding up Recovery from a Hamstring Injury
Let's go hammy, let's go!
Most of us would be familiar with the sharp pain of a hamstring "hammy" tear, it's painful! A pulled hamstring muscle is an injury to one or more of the three muscles (biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus) at the rear of the thigh. It often occurs when sprinting or kicking but people may also experience this painful condition when there’s a rapid contraction or a violent stretch of the hamstring muscle group. No matter how it occurs the result is a degree of tearing within the muscle fibers leading to pain and reduced function.
Pain is the most noticeable symptom of a hamstring injury. You may feel a sharp, sudden pain in the back of your thigh, and you’ll find it hard to place weight on it. Within a few hours, there may also be some swelling and tenderness. When you attempt to walk, bend over, or move the hamstring muscles, you can often experience discomfort, pain, or inability to complete the movement.
Hamstring strains are common among athletes, but they can also occur when doing daily activities, bending suddenly, or falling awkwardly. It’s important to recover as quickly as you can as most of us require full use of our knees and hips for everyday activities. An injured hamstring has a reduced ability to withstand certain movements as well as high forces, such as those seen in running and jumping. Follow these steps to allow the cells to regrow and repair themselves as quickly as possible.
Here some good tips to speed up recovery from a hamstring injury:
Ice and Heat
Whether the tear is mild, moderate, or severe, the first step is to reduce pain and control swelling. Ice is the initial gold standard treatment for muscle strains. Applying ice for 10-20 minutes at a time also helps reduce bruising and prevent muscle spasms. Once the swelling, pain, and bruising have subsided, you can begin to use heat therapy to loosen and relax the muscles and stimulates blood flow to the injured hamstring.
Rest your muscles
It may seem obvious but one of the best things you can do is to rest and allow the muscle to heal itself. Remove the load on your body and restrict movements that increase pain for the first 1-3 days after injury. In recovery mode, the body focuses on repairing damaged cells and rebuilding. Depending on the seriousness of your injury you might need to take some time off work and avoid exercise that’s likely to aggravate your hamstring. The more you move and stretch the injured hamstring the longer it will take to recover. If the pain lasts for more than a few days, visit a medical professional to determine whether you have a serious injury.
Feed your body
Making sure that your diet includes nutrients to speed the healing process of muscles and fibers is vital. A protein-rich diet provides essential amino acids which are the foundation for all the muscle fiber in our body. To supplement your diet, you can use a variety of vitamins, minerals, and herbs to support your body and speed up your recovery. WoundVite is a powerful all-in-one supplement that contains 21 pharma-grade ingredients including Vitamin C, Vitamin A, L-Arginine, L-Glutamine, Bromelain, Hyaluronic Acid, and Turmeric. These ingredients work together in tissue injury recovery. Vitamins A and C are essential for their anti-inflammatory properties and the production of collagen to speed the healing of muscle fibers. L-Arginine and Turmeric (Curcumin) are also known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin-based interventions have been shown to result in reduced evidence of muscle damage. Due to its ability to facilitate the process of rapid cell reproduction glutamine has been found to have positive effects on wound healing. Bromelain enzymes obtained from the pineapple plant, help heal strains and sprains, muscle injuries, and tendonitis by reducing swelling, healing time, and pain.
Support the muscle
In the first 24 hours ensure your muscles are supported, and not undergoing any strain. If possible rest with your leg elevated above the level of your heart, to improve drainage and minimize swelling. Any additional strain or use will only weaken the hamstring and prolong the recovery time. If you see a physiotherapist kinesiology tape might be applied during the later stages of rehabilitation to encourage activation of the muscle fibers.
Stretch it out
As you move out of the acute phase, you can begin to restore flexibility to the muscle. Start stretching at least twice a day with gentle hamstring exercises. Simple stretches such as a seated or standing forward fold help to lengthen the hamstring. Try lying on the floor beside a wall, pole, or doorway, and slowly move your leg up the wall until you form the shape of an L. It’s crucial to pay attention to your body and only do what feels comfortable.
Strengthen your muscles
Hamstring strengthening exercises are also important for recovery. While you should avoid exercise in the initial few days to a week, targeted exercises increase blood flow which further promotes healing and healthier, more resilient tissue. However, experiencing pain is a sign that the tissues are still too inflamed and won’t be able to bear the load without further damage. In this case, you may need to wait a bit longer to begin strengthening.
Following an injury, yoga offers several benefits. Firstly, it’s a relaxing and low-impact form of exercise that is good for the body as well as the mind. Yoga is understood to lower anxiety and stress levels, improve the immune system, and boost your metabolism. Certain yoga poses also help improve flexibility and mobility in your hamstrings and set you up for better movement patterns.
Moving your "hammy" forward.....
Minor hamstring injuries usually start to feel better within a few days. More significant injuries may take weeks or months of rehabilitation to get you back to normal. Like any injury, it’s important to listen to your body and seek advice from a healthcare professional if your pain is unmanageable and you’re not seeing any progress. Recovery from any kind of injury requires time and patience but you can also speed up the process by supporting your body with natural supplements. WoundVite is proudly made in the USA, in an FDA registered facility, and follows Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guidelines to ensure it is of the highest quality and purity.