The hamstrings are part of a muscle group that controls movement and bending of the knee as well as in a smaller capacity, proper movement of the hip. They are unfortunately frequently injured and these types of injuries can severely impact mobility and take a long time to heal. Hamstrings are important to a great many activities including walking and running, cycling, swimming, jumping and so forth, so when a hamstring injury is present, it can very debilitating not just in terms of athletic activity but even everyday life. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury can actually take a long time to recover from, and this length of time can be exacerbated by the following 10 mistakes made during the recovery period. Avoid these 10 to help promote the most rapid recovery possible, as well as useful pain management techniques too:
1. Not Staying Hydrated: Most people don’t even realize that they are dehydrated or at risk for dehydration, but it’s actually very common even in individuals who think they drink more than enough every day. The reason dehydration can be so detrimental in the case of a muscle injury is because the muscles need proper fluid balances to work properly and of course, heal properly. Interestingly enough, proper hydration can actually serve as a form of natural pain relief as fluid deprived muscles can be crampy, achy and unpleasantly stiff.
2. Not Resting: Many injuries benefit from healthy movement and exercise, even early on. However in the case of hamstring or knee injury treatment, this can be downright impossible as even the simple task of walking can be challenging. Some people even have to use crutches in order to get around in the days following the initial hamstring injury. Exercise may come in the days and weeks following, but this is best under medical advice and with proper treatment and therapy.
3. Not Sleeping: Resting and staying off the injured leg or legs is very important, but some of that time should be spent getting some beauty sleep. Often times, individuals with injuries skimp on the sleep whether due to pain and discomfort or an inability to sleep well due to inactivity. However, during deep sleep is when the body goes to work to repair itself. A lack of this vital time can mean less available opportunity for the body’s natural healing mechanisms to kick in, which can prolong recovery.
4. Not Compressing: The use of compression therapy has been proven to be so effective that it allows some with a hamstring injury to even return to physical activity sooner. It’s thought to provide knee, thigh and hip pain relief. Compression is important both during initial treatment and upon returning to normal activity as well. Not compressing when mobility is increased can lead to a greater chance of reinjury.
5. Not Elevating: It’s a common misconception that elevation is only important in injuries of the lower legs, but this inflammation and swelling reducing practice is just as important in the case of a hamstring injury. It may be more challenging to get the injured area above the elevation of the heart, but the effort can be well rewarded in terms of less pain and discomfort caused by inflammation.
6. Not Trying Alternative Treatments: It may seem as though a hamstring injury is one that little can be done about besides sitting and waiting for it to heal. But, don’t tell that to the people who have benefited from one Cryotherapy Toronto based clinic, namely Cryotherapy Health and Wellness Inc. It offers technology that can help speed recovery time and provide pain relief as well. Whole Body Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to safely cool the exterior dermis of healthy participants and this procedure prompts a wide variety of healing benefits including endorphin release, immune system stimulation and nerve ending chilling for a multifaceted tool for recovery hastening. The procedure is a common answer to how to relieve back pain and that caused from arthritis, but it’s gaining a huge popularity amongst athletes for it’s muscle and joint benefits.
7. Not Increasing Blood Circulation: A big part of proper healing for a hamstring injury relates to restoring a correct amount of blood flow to the area, and this can be particularly challenging in cases where physical mobility is limited. There are some techniques that are often used to help this process along including ultrasounds and electrical stimulation as well. Restoring proper blood flow can not only help reduce discomfort but also speed recovery time.
8. Not Waiting to Return to Full Activity: Like it or not, downtown due to hamstring injury can be difficult for some people. But, even for those that take it easy and rest like they should, returning to full activity too soon can be very detrimental. There is a big difference between regular activity and full activity and for those who are very active or are regular athletes, the wait can be substantial. However, it’s also very important to reduce the risk of further or repeat injury. And, there are cases of chronic pain related to hamstring injury, and returning to too much activity too soon is one of the most common causes.
9. Not Using Physical Therapy: Following a fair amount of rest to the injured muscles, physical therapy is often the next step in treatment. Because normal physical activities are limited, physical activity can help to keep joints and muscles functioning normally without adding any risk. It can be inconvenient and even costly, but skipping physical therapy can delay or inhibit proper healing in the case of more serious hamstring injuries.
10. Not Attempting to Walk: The majority of our mistakes not to make revolve around taking it easy and avoiding further risk, however not trying to walk at least once following the initial injury can not only send the affected down the wrong treatment path but also eliminate the best tool for understanding the severity of the injury. In the case of a hamstring injury, the rule of thumb is that if walking is possible the day following injury than it’s likely less severe and may heal quicker. If walking isn’t possible the day following injury without severe discomfort, then treatment and recovery are likely to exceed three weeks.