A hamstring injury or strain can be a painful and even debilitating injury, and you need to follow your doctor’s advice on how to heal it. There are several things you can do to reduce your recovery time, including the use of stretching, yoga, strengthening the muscle fibers in multiple ways, avoiding pool exercises, applying ice and heat, resting, and supporting the injured area.
How to Recover Fast from a Hamstring Injury?
While this might be hard for overly active and athletic individuals to accept, the best way to allow the muscle to heal quickly is to let it rest. The cells need time to work their magic and rejuvenate the cells that have been damaged or torn. If you are constantly moving around the damaged muscle, this process will take much longer. Accept the fact that you may need to take a few days off work, or a few days away from the gym, and take care of your body to make sure that it heals properly. This is the most passive, but also the most effective way to prevent a hamstring injury from getting any worse.
Ensure that your diet is rich in the right nutrients that can speed the healing process of muscles and fibers. Protein-rich foods are the first major recommendation, as amino acids are the essential building blocks for all the muscle fiber in our body. We need protein in our diet for our body to continue its perpetual regrowth and repair of our cells. Vitamins A and C are also very important. Vitamin C plays a key role in the production of collagen, which speeds the healing of muscle fibers. Vitamin A is a good addition as well, due to its anti-inflammatory effects on the injured muscle, which can help the healing process as well.
Many hamstring injuries can be caused because the muscle is simply too “cold”, so when excessive force was put on it, the fiber was more likely to tear. To increase the flexibility of your hamstrings throughout the recovery process, begin to routinely stretch at least twice a day. One of the best hamstring stretches involves lying on the ground beside a wall, pole, or doorway, and then slowly moving the injured leg up the wall, making your body form an “L”. This is a great stretch that can be done at varying intensities, based on how the healing process has been progressing. However, it is best to check with your doctor before adding any stretches.
Ice and Heat
As with any muscle injury, alternating ice and heat can be an effective way to quickly reduce swelling and inflammation, while also stimulating blood flow to speed the healing process. This alternating process is also good for pain relief. Immediately following the injury, it is best to stick primarily with ice, using a cold pack 3-5 times per day. On the second and third day of recovery, heat in the form of a compress, jacuzzi, or hot bath can be added to the recovery regimen.
Supporting the Muscle
When the muscles are not in use, make sure that they are supported, and not undergoing any passive or unnecessary strain. Support the leg with pillows while laying down, and use crutches or a wheelchair if possible or convenient for you to do so. Any additional strain or use will only weaken the muscle, particularly in the first 24 hours of recovery.
Many different workouts are recommended for hamstring injury recovery, particularly once the healing process is well underway. You should avoid exercise in the initial few days to a week, depending on the severity of the injury, but it is important to keep the muscle in good shape as it heals, to ensure that you will get full use of the muscle as soon as possible.
For thousands of years, yoga has provided a calming and low-impact form of exercise that is good for the body and mind. Following an injury, there can be both physical and psychological side effects, and while hamstring strains aren’t usually very serious, it can still be good to keep your head on straight. Yoga is known to lower anxiety and stress levels, improve the immune system, and boost the metabolism, all of which can help the healing process of your injury!
A Final Word of Warning
If you experience ongoing pain and severe swelling for more than 48 hours, you may be experiencing a more serious injury that requires medical attention. Use your best judgment, but be aware that these home remedies are mainly recommended for less serious injuries to this key muscle group.