The hamstrings are comprised of 3 muscles that are positioned in the rear part of the thigh. This muscle group is considered large and covers the pelvic area up to the knee in the lower leg. Among athletes, injuries to the hamstrings are common such as strains or pulls from stressed out tight hamstrings.
Constricted hamstrings that initiate sharp pain or widespread soreness in the upper leg can be dealt with at home. On the other hand, tight hamstrings that are excessively sore that do not appear to recover using home remedies might require thorough assessment by a doctor.
The RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation) has been the initial course of treatment if an individual ends up with a sore hamstring that has been strained due to tightness.
The application of an ice pack on the affected hamstring must be done 20 minutes at a time throughout the day to reduce some of the pain and swelling. The compression provided by an elastic bandage can also minimize the swelling which also helps curb down the pain.
The individual should also take a break from daily activities so that the tight hamstrings can be given enough time to heal without worsening the problem. Depending on the reaction of the body, the RICE method can be used for a few days but severe cases might take a longer time to fully heal.
Application of heat
The application of heat is recommended to help slacken constricted hamstrings without adding up to the soreness. A warm pack heated up to a temperature of 160 degrees F can be utilized to provide the hamstrings with added flexibility.
Just remember that the moist heat must be carefully used in 20-minute sessions to avoid any burns. The heat can be used along with dynamic stretching of the thigh muscles in order to avoid the development of strains and reduce some of the pain that originates from usual stiffness. In addition, a massage provided by a physical therapist is also beneficial right after the application of heat.
Stretching out tight hamstrings is considered effective in loosening up the muscle that can relieve some of the pain linked with the condition. It is important to only stretch within the limits. In case the stretch triggers pain, do not push through but only go as far as possible without any pain.
Important considerations to bear in mind
The tight hamstrings might not be due to lack of stretching, but this is the usual cause in most individuals. Take note that some are predisposed genetically to have tight hamstrings that can trigger pain if the individual will not take time to stretch out before a workout routine.
A previous back injury is also considered as another basis for sore tight hamstrings. Individuals who experience low back pain due to a herniated disc frequently end up with muscular rigidity in the back as well as nerve pain that radiates down the leg or sciatica. It is vital to bear in mind that both stiffness in the back and sciatica can lead to unintentional constriction of the hamstrings.