Contrary to popular opinion the hamstring isn’t just a single muscle. In fact, a muscle group made up of three tendons that make up the hamstring group and are located at the back of the thigh. A knot in hamstring can be very excruciating and will interfere with your daily routine if left unchecked.
The hamstring group is responsible for extending the hip or bending and flexing the knee. As such they’re not too frequently used while standing or walking.
WHAT IS A HAMSTRING KNOT?
Also known as trigger points, they are hard, sensitive areas that tighten and contract leading to pain in the back of the thigh.
This is regardless of whether the hamstring is flexed or not due to constant straining. The pain can also be felt in areas such as the buttocks, lower leg and lower back.
A lot of times this is because the pain you feel is actually ‘inferred pain’. This means pain is not felt at the trigger point but in an inferred place.
Knots in a hamstring come about as a result of a variety of reasons. They include:
A sedentary lifestyle
Overexertion of the hamstring
Therefore, in essence, muscle knots in a hamstring indicate the body protecting itself from further injury. This phenomenon is known as ‘muscle guarding’.
It is, therefore, an involuntary action whereby through a brain impulse the muscles contract themselves. This hereby forms a hardened shell that acts as a protective measure.
This means that treating these knots involves mostly therapies such as cool packs and massages. That said, regular exercise routines are also viable options to get rid of knots in a hamstring.
HOT AND COLD THERAPY
This therapy involves introducing heat and therapy into your body. By introducing cold into your system, you constrict your vessels.
As a result, the induced cold reduces swelling. You can do this by applying a cold compress for 10 minutes, after that, remove it for 15 minutes.
Repeat the process until the pain reduces
Heat therapy is the opposite of its counterpart, cold therapy whereby you introduce heat to your body. What this does is that it loosens and relaxes stiff muscles.
By doing this, you increase blood flow in the contracted muscles which induces relief. That said, to achieve the best results you should alternate between the two therapies.
According to studies, tendons have stretching properties. As a result, consistent stretching can elongate your tendons consequentially relieving tension in your hamstring.
However, it is important to stretch with caution and do what you can manage as overexertion can aggravate the injury.
For effectiveness, remember to hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds.
The more work your muscles do the more blood flow they require. This is due to the muscles that need to contract and relax effectively.
As such, by targeting the knot in a hamstring, you increase the blood that flows through this muscle. Consequentially you allow blood to flow through the muscle, thereby promoting relaxation.
Poor posture naturally predisposes you to knots in a hamstring. This however shouldn’t be a problem as there are a plethora of posture correcting exercises that can align your posture.
Correcting your posture alleviates muscle tension and pain.
This is a form of therapy in itself that allows you to get rid of knot in a hamstring. Kneading your muscles enables the muscles to relax which then improves circulation and improves blood flow.
However, there are several types of massage. The type you benefit from the most will thus depend on the severity of knots in the hamstring.
TRIGGER POINT RELEASE
This largely involves dealing directly with the trigger point. To undertake a trigger point release you have to apply deep pressure directly on the trigger point.
By applying pressure on the knot, we humor the theory that the knot is reminiscent of a living breathing organism.
Therefore, applying direct pressure on the knot ‘starves’ it of blood and oxygen because you divert blood away from it.
Trigger point release is a viable method of dealing with a knot as it can be performed at home. This can be done using tools such as a round small ball.
Forms of exercise, such as aerobic exercise can provide relief. By doing exercises that target the hamstring you strengthen and stretch the muscle allowing better blood circulation.
Physical therapy is recommended in severe cases i.e., recurring knots. This is considering you will be actively dealing with a physical therapist.
A therapist is suited to accurately identify the underlying causes of muscle knots. From there, they will be able to develop a suitable treatment plan for you.
Dry needling is a medical procedure used to induce muscle relaxation. A professional i.e., physical therapist does the procedure.
The therapist will use small, thin needles that are then gently used to prick the trigger points. As a result, the pricking induces relaxation.
Muscle rubs are one of the more popular methods of dealing with muscle knots. They are easily accessible and acts fast.
Most rubs rub contains menthol, capsaicin or camphor which soften and relax muscle knots. Muscle rub is applied onto the affected area for relief.
This is the simplest form of treatment you could seek for a muscle knot in hamstring. Letting the body rest grants the body time to recover
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR A HAMSTRING KNOT TO RELEASE?
The muscle knot is dependent on its access to oxygen and blood. Therefore, by stretching or applying pressure on the knot, you actively deny these things.
By stretching, you elongate the tendons for 30 seconds per stretch which leaves little room for contraction. This leaves little to no room for the development of knots.
On the other hand, by applying pressure directly on the knot, you divert blood from it. This, therefore, disrupts the conditions that facilitate it to thrive.
You therefore need about 5 to 30 seconds to ensure the knot is fully released.
HOW CAN I STRENGTHEN MY HAMSTRING?
Hamstrings just like any part of the body can be trained to be stronger through physical exercises. By strengthening the hamstring, you ensure it is less susceptible to developing knots.
Some of the exercises you can engage in include:
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM HAMSTRING KNOTS
Actively seek out good posture practices.
Warm-up before exercising this ensures that you don’t overexert yourself.
Change your diet. This means replacing processed foods with fresh, whole foods.
Engage in exercises such as yoga that help increase your flexibility
Knots in a hamstring are naturally painful. Fortunately, they are reasonably easy to locate this unless you are experiencing inferred pain.
Using the means stated above, you should be able to clear out the knots within a reasonably fast amount of time.
That said, untreated muscle knots can lead to persistent pain and further complications. You should therefore seek the advice of a doctor if you have taken measures to curb the pain yet it persists.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]