The term ‘hamstring’ is actually referring to a group of muscles that are located at the back of your thigh, running from your hip down to your knee. The hamstring muscles are actively involved when you are bending your knees.
Hamstring strain occurs when the muscles are stretched beyond their limit. It is mostly likely to happen during sudden and explosive movements such as sprinting, climbing and jumping. When the muscles are pulled, they got overloaded or even started to tear. Recurring hamstring injury is also common in athletes.
For mild hamstring strains, patients can feel a sudden pain and tenderness along the back of the thigh. Swelling and bruising may observed along the muscles. In some cases, you may also lose some strength of the muscle group. For sever hamstring tears, patients could even experience a popping sensation right away and unable to bend their knee.
Recovery time depends on how badly your hamstring is injured. It normally takes a week to months to heal. During the first few days of the injury, you should rest your leg as much as you can to avoid further damages. You can also elevate your leg by using a pillow to reduce swelling. You can start some gentle hamstring stretches and strengthening exercises once the pain and swelling have disappeared.
In TCM, we believe that when the hamstring is overloaded, the flow of Qi and blood around the muscle group is hindered, causing Qi stagnation and blood stasis. Acupuncture can improve the local Qi and blood circulation and hence alleviate the pain. As bladder meridian runs along the hamstring muscles, acupuncture points of the meridian are frequently used in treating hamstring strain, examples are Chengfu (BL-36), Yinmen (BL-37) and Weizhong (BL-40).
photos credit: acupunctureonlineschool
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