A pulled hamstring is among the most common injuries sustained by runners. It’s characterized by the excessive stretching and/or tearing of fibrous muscle tissue in the thigh. The hamstring muscles contract with each stride you take, and normally this causes no reason for concern. But pushing your body beyond its physical limits can result in injuries like a pulled hamstring.
Treatment for a Pulled Hamstring
While many runners and athletes mask the symptoms of a pulled hamstring with pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, a safer and more effective form of treatment is massage therapy. A pulled hamstring is classified an “over-exertion” injury, meaning it manifests when a person exerts his or herself. In order for the torn and damaged muscle fibers to heal, blood must flow freely to the affected area; otherwise, it won’t receive the oxygen and nutrients it needs to heal.
Among the many benefits associated with massage therapy is increased blood flow and improved circulation. Whether you prefer a light or deep-tissue massage, all forms of massage stimulate blood flow. This is particularly beneficial for people suffering from pulled hamstrings or similar injuries, as the increased blood flow encourages faster healing times.
If you are seeking massage therapy for the purpose of treating a pulled hamstring, let the therapist know before the session begins. A skilled massage therapist will focus on your hamstrings, using just the right amount of pressure to improve blood flow without causing additional pain or discomfort.
Of course there are other steps you can take to promote a speedy recover, such as following the Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation (RICE) mantra. Even if your pulled hamstring is considered to be a “low strain,” it may become worse while waiting for the damaged muscle fibers to heal. Propping your affected leg up and applying an ice pack to it can make a world of difference, allowing it to heal faster and with a lower risk of complication.
So, how long will take a pulled hamstring to heal? There’s no easy answer to this question, as it depends on numerous factors like the severity of the injury, your body’s metabolism, and what treatments (if any) you’ve received. With that said, most pulled hamstrings will heal between 1-2 weeks, sometimes longer for grade 2 or 3 tears.
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