Can chiropractic help a hamstring strain?
Yes, there are many ways chiropractic can be beneficial for hamstring injuries. Hamstring strains are one of the most common sports injuries. There are many ways chiropractors can help athletes recover through a strain and reduce the chances of them reoccurring. Sports chiropractic treatment for hamstring strains involves reducing pain, reducing muscle tension, and improving biomechanics. Sports chiropractors work to strengthen the injured hamstring and surrounding muscles, examine movement patterns, and educate the athlete on life-style modifications.
How does chiropractic care reduce hamstring pain?
The most common way chiropractors reduce pain is through chiropractic manipulation/adjustment. Chiropractic adjustments are most effective to decrease pain for 2-3 days after the adjustment is given. Common areas adjusted with a hamstring injury are the pelvis, hip, knee, and ankle. It’s important to include other types of treatment with an adjustment to help the effects last. Other ways that chiropractors reduce pain is by decreasing muscle tension through soft tissue work, therapeutic exercises, and modifying movement biomechanics.
How to reduce the likelihood of a hamstring re-injury.
After a hamstring strain, the eccentric strength of an injured hamstring muscle is reduced. Deceleration from sprinting or running uses eccentric contraction of the hamstring muscle. Eccentric contraction of the hamstring when decelerating is the most common mechanism of injury for a hamstring pull. Knowing this information is crucial in terms of rehabilitation exercises and reduction of restrains. Research shows that the exact cause of recurrent hamstring injuries is unknown, but the focus of rehab should be on increasing eccentric strength, correcting strength imbalances, and improving flexibility. Sports chiropractors are specialized in those three areas, making them great providers to help you recover from any strain injuries. Read this peer-review article to learn more about factors that lead to injury and re-injury of hamstrings.
Should I stretch a hamstring strain?
Yes and no. The strain grade, pain level, and stage in recovery time determine the type of stretching that should be done. Deep static stretching should be avoided the first week or two after a hamstring injury. If you experience any increase in pain when stretching then it should also be avoided. As stated above, flexibility is important for recovery from a muscle strain, but it should not be overdone or be done too early. It is recommended that early pain-free range of motion is the best type of treatment for most injuries. Other types of treatment that improve flexibility without static stretching and that can be performed early on include soft tissue mobilization and therapeutic exercises.