Hamstring muscles allow you to flex your knees and bend your legs.
What to look for
- sharp pain in the back of the thigh, during or immediately after sports or other strenuous activity which causes problems in walking, sitting or any other activity.
All your movements rely on these muscles. The muscles actually run along the back of the thigh to the knee.
Anyone can ‘pull’ a hamstring muscle, however, if you are a professional athlete, a dancer or work in another physical occupation you are more prone.
It is important with this type of injury to stop when you feel the pain and rest. If you keep working the injured muscle, problems can develop and your recovery will be hampered.
A pulled hamstring is invariably the result of overburdening or tearing the muscle fibres. You can simply stretch the muscle too far and this can be mended easily or the muscle belt can be torn which is more serious. When the muscle becomes separated from the connective tendons, it is a much more serious injury.
It is always best to see a doctor to be assured the damage is minimal.
Like other strains, a hamstring pull generally heals itself.
The established recovery procedure for muscle strain is RICE:
Your doctor may also recommend a pain killer.
Massage – by a trained therapist will help to relax and tone your muscles.
Aromatherapy – For tension in your hamstrings try this blend of essential oils – 3 drops of peppermint, 3 drops of marjoram in 15 gm of base cream or 15 ml massage oil. Apply this to the effected area – massaging gently.
Homeopathy – Arnica is the homeopath’s first-aid remedy for muscle injuries. It can be taken orally and applied as a salve to the painful area. Rhus toxicodendron and Ruta are also remedies for muscle strains.
To help your muscles operate at their best, drink plenty of water or a sports beverage before and after every workout.
The best way to avoid muscle strains is to keep your body in good condition and avoid pushing yourself too hard at work or play.
Always warm up before starting any sports or physical activity.
When to seek further professional advice
- you feel pain shooting down the back of your leg when you cough.
- you have chills or fever as well as the muscle pain.
- your leg hurts when you walk and stops hurting when you are at rest.