Chiropractic Care for the Torn or Pulled Hamstring

Chiropractic Care for the Torn or Pulled Hamstring

Have you ever experienced a sudden, sharp pain or what could be described as a “popping” or tearing sensation in the back of your thigh? If so, you probably have pulled or torn a hamstring. Hamstring injuries are most common in athletes and occur when the fibers of the muscle in the back of the thigh are stretched too far, causing hyperextension or tearing. Treatment for this painful injury can be as simple as rest, but a better, more holistic approach is to focus on whole-body health with a chiropractor to heal the root cause and prevent reoccurrence of the strain.

Typical Treatments

After a hamstring injury has been diagnosed, treatment should begin right away. The type of treatment generally is determined by the severity of the injury. For a hamstring pull, resting may be sufficient and successful, and you can do activities that do not aggravate it, while a complete tear requires more invasive treatment.

  • Rest: The first line of treatment is allowing time for the muscle to rest until the pain is gone. Rest helps swelling and inflammation subside and gives time for healing. Sometimes crutches help relieve the stress on the muscle.
  • Stretching: Gentle and not painful stretching can begin soon after the injury; however, aggressive stretching can aggravate it. As healing progresses, stretching intensity can increase, but it should never be painful.
  • Icing: In the acute phase (and after activities), applying ice to the injury helps limit swelling and inflammation and stimulates blood flow to the area. Ice also is effective for pain relief.
  • Heat Application: Heating the injured muscle before activities can help loosen or warm up the compromised tissue and lessen pain.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Over-the-counter medications (such as Aleve, Motrin, or ibuprofen) can help relieve pain and calm inflammation.
  • Physical Therapy: Many find relief from ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and therapeutic massage or simply developing a proper stretching program. Athletes also can engage in therapeutic exercises with low-impact activities like cycling and pool workouts.
  • Surgery: This is rarely necessary for a hamstring injury; however, in extreme situations when the muscle is pulled off the bone, surgery can be required to reattach the muscle.

Why Consider Chiropractic Treatment?

“Typically, a pulled hamstring will heal well on its own with rest, light activity, and gentle stretching,” explains Dr. Rick Gross of Quality Care Chiropractic, “but when you need faster healing, or the injury does not seem to be going away after a few weeks, our chiropractic treatments can get you fixed up quickly.”

Faster healing occurs because chiropractic care addresses the whole body, notes Dr. Gross. He explains that they look at “why the hamstring was at risk for being injured,” not just the injury itself. “Many times, we find that the feet and ankles or the pelvis and low back are not functioning at their best, which puts the hamstring at risk of being pulled or torn. Regular chiropractic care can help reduce the risk of injury.”

What Techniques Help Hamstring Injuries?

Dr. Gross offers, “Some of our tools for treating a torn hamstring include professionally applied Kinesio Tape; MLS Laser to reduce pain and speed up healing; chiropractic adjustments to improve the mobility and function of the foot, ankle, knee, and hips; physical therapy exercises to stabilize the area; and the Graston Technique® to improve circulation and flexibility.”

Case Studies for the Graston Technique

A study of 24 patients (aged 27–46) with nonspecific low back pain showed that improving hamstring flexibility helped treat low back pain because the two regions are connected. Hamstring extensibility and pain intensity were recorded as half the patients received the Graston Technique while the rest received static stretching. While both groups showed significant improvement in the low back pain, the Graston Technique group had significantly more hamstring extensibility.

In another case, a UMass Dartmouth baseball player severely pulled his hamstring during a game. He iced the injury and tried to stay off his feet but decided to play through the pain a few days later and made the injury worse. Not new to sports injuries (and the long road to healing through months of rehabilitation), the student was eager to try the Graston Technique, which was known to hasten recovery. With this technique, chiropractors and physical therapists can detect subtle changes in the tissue and apply more consistent and deeper pressure; therefore, allowing muscles, tendons, and ligaments to move properly, which results in a much faster recovery. Two weeks after the injury, the student was back in his team’s lineup.

Whether it’s implementing the Graston Technique or treating the whole body for the root of the pain, if you are experiencing strain or pain in the back of your thigh, comprehensive chiropractic treatment may be the answer to get you back on track. Contact us at Quality Care Chiropractic in Aurora, IL, at (630) 499-2225 to learn how we can help you recover and reach your whole-body health.

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