Hamstring Strain Injuries? – Affecting your life?
How common are hamstring injuries?
I’m Ryan Keats, BSc Sports Therapist at Lushington Chiropractic. I am based in Eastbourne, East Sussex. I have written this blog to share one of the many injuries I have the experience of treating both in elite sports and at our clinic here at Lushington Chiropractic Eastbourne.
A hamstring strain injury (HSI) is a common type of injury I treat. In fact, it is the most common injury in professional football with one in three re injuring the same site within a year. Athletes within football go through comprehensive rehabilitation protocols, this could mean that the current methods of rehabilitation are somewhat inadequate, in any case, I will explain how and why they occur, the treatment and also how to prevent HSI’s.
What are hamstrings?
The hamstrings are a group of knee flexors and hip extensors that consist of three muscles
- The biceps femoris
A hamstring strain is a tear within the hamstring muscle. It can be from a few fibres to a complete rupture. There are 3 grading categories in sport called Grade I, II & III.
- Grade I is a slight tear within the muscle and can be painful but you are still able to walk and bend the knee for example.
- Grade II is a partial tear in which more than a few muscle fibres have been detached, though the hamstring is still intact. It is very painful to walk and you may require crutches.
- Grade III is a complete rupture in which the muscle is completely torn and is not attached. Swelling will appear immediately and there should be immobility.
Hamstring strains are the most common recorded injury from football and other team games because of sudden acceleration, deceleration, change of direction and jumping.
When an individual has been sprinting, both hip flexion and knee extension occur within one stride with maximal tension. Explosive force from a large muscle group such as the quads during take-off, needs hamstrings equally as strong in order to absorb and decelerate the explosive movement of sprint to retract the leg for another stride. A HSI, or “pulled” hamstring, normally occurs when at least one of these muscles mentioned above increases in tension (gets stretched too far) and this can result in muscle failure (strain). During a highly intense sprint, the hamstrings are highly active during the swing stage as they are working eccentrically (contraction whilst muscle lengthening) to slow down the swinging tibia and controlling the extension at the knee. The hamstrings at the stance point are still active due to the concentric (contraction whilst muscle shortening) hip extension.
Treatment for a hamstring injury can be categorized into immediate first aid and long-term treatment, which begins after the initial acute period, has passed.
Immediate first aid consists of the PRICE and will usually last 3 to 4 days depending on severity.
- Principles of protection
A compression bandage or thigh support can be worn to minimize bleeding in the muscle and help control swelling. A professional sports therapist may apply sports massage techniques after the inflammatory stage has passed. After the inflammation period, a sports therapist will prescribe a full rehabilitation program to include stretching, strengthening and functional exercises. Performing foam roller exercises for the hamstrings can massage and apply myofascial release to the muscles. Pressure is applied from just above the knee upwards following the direction of blood flow.
For prevention of a hamstring injury it goes without saying that good warm-up and cool-down routines are imperative. Allow extra warm-up time in colder weather. If you want to avoid any hamstring problems, introduce strengthening exercises to your routine, for example hamstring kicks, squats and lunges. Do not increase intensity, frequency or duration of exercise by more than 10 percent a week. Flexibility exercises also increase the suppleness of hamstrings – yoga is excellent for this. Stop exercising if you feel pain in the back of your legs. Pain is you body’s way of saying ‘this is too much’.
If you would like to know any more information, please don’t hesitate to contact Ryan here at Lushington Chiropractic Eastbourne!
Foam Roller Friday – The Lower Back.
Welcome back to Foam Roller Friday!
This week is focussing on the lower back, predominantly the spinal erector muscles.
Lower back problems and pain is probably one of the biggest taxes on the NHS, simple regular exercise and soft tissue management could at least half this problem.
The lower back is effected by many day to day factors. Posture for instance – seated and standing, daily work duties – bending over things, picking up heavy objects or being seated for long periods of time. Exercise is another factor – lifting weights incorrectly, imbalanced routines with excessive anterior chain bias or sporting injuries.
These factors can cause the back to become weak, tight or both leading to pain and if no action is taken towards remedying the pain will become chronic.
Foam rolling combined with a well-coordinated exercise program will help release tension within the lower back muscles and help correct posture, however, foam rolling the lower back can be a tricky affair as it is often quite painful and awkward to localise the right areas around the spine, pelvis and ribs.
Using the techniques demonstrated in the video will show you how to manipulate the roller into working on the common tight spots. The lower back has several layers of muscle and direct downward pressure from a roller can often not reach deep enough to release. Positioning the body on the roller can allow the roller better access to the deeper tissue. Similarly, to the lats the back is a large area so taking time finding various points is important. It is best to do one side at a time and vary between working the roller up and down the muscle as well as holding on trigger points. By doing one side at a time you can rotate the body to get deeper into the muscles.
Watch my video on foam rolling the lower back here
Journey into Remedial Massage
How I became a remedial massage therapist in Eastbourne
A career in IT Management doesn’t really seem to be an obvious route to becoming a Sports Massage Therapist but sometimes a change is a great way of improving your life.
I loved working in IT. It constantly presented me with change and challenges, which kept me on my toes. But eventually I realised that it was taking a toll on me both in strange working hours and the stress of having sometimes hundreds of people waiting for me to fix a problem. Having left a job I loved in London, because the stress and time involved in commuting was unsustainable, I moved into IT locally in the NHS. The reduction in commuting time (4 hours per day had become 40 minutes) left me with some valuable free time, which I wanted to put to good use.
I started helping out at a local running club in an “admin” role.
Being around a running club soon led to pleas to help out in league meetings as they were short of women competitors. So I soon started throwing javelins, shot puts and hammers and then into some relay running. Having done little sport since leaving school this took a bit of a toll on the body! I was recommended to see a sports massage therapist who had recently graduated from the London School of Sports Massage (L.S.S.M). The first treatment really helped my sore shoulders and back and I booked in for regular “maintenance” treatments.
I got hooked!
When my running club took up triathlon (Swim/Bike/Run) around this time, I thought why not? (Not being able to swim anything other than slow breaststroke was perhaps one reason!) Soon, I had learned to swim front crawl and also to ride a racing bike and to run further and with continuing massage treatments entered my first race.
Some friends wanted to qualify to race in New Zealand in 2003 and I was persuaded to give it a go as well. I went to New Zealand as part of the GB Team and then onto many other races around the world in wonderful places such as Hawaii, Vancouver etc. as part of the wonderful GB Age Group family.
Having taken some UK Athletics and British Triathlon coaching qualifications
I was constantly being asked about ways of combating and fixing injuries and so looked into doing a sports massage course myself. I did a weekend taster course at the L.S.S.M and was instantly hooked by the benefits massage can bring. I enrolled on the Level 5 Diploma in Remedial and Sports Massage Therapy course (now Soft Tissue Therapist Dip). Having qualified I took the offer of redundancy during one of the many NHS reorganisations and went into Remedial and Sports Massage as my “day” job.
Six years on, over three of these practising remedial massage therapy at Lushington Chiropractic Clinic in Eastbourne,
I am still in awe of the help and changes I can bring about using various massage, stretching and related techniques both to sports people and to others whose jobs and day to day living causes them stress, pain and injury. Rehabilitation from injury is also part of the work and is very rewarding as it’s always a pleasure to see people return to an activity that they have had to give up.
Continuing Professional Development Courses (C.P.D) in areas such as myofascial release and medical acupuncture (dry needling), kinesio taping have added to my skills and so to my ability to help people. Remedial/ Sports Massage is a truly rewarding thing to do and I also meet a wide range of interesting people
Therapeutic massage at Lushington Chiropractic – Janet Barber case study
Massage case study – A therapeutic massage at Lushington Chiropractic
Massages are incredibly popular as part of pamper packages to help people relax and unwind. However, massages can also play an important role in treating those suffering from pain and discomfort. Therapeutic massages are slightly different from those you might encounter at a spa or beauty clinic but the results can be profound. Here’s a case study relating to Janet Barber, who visited Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne to seek treatment for an ongoing elbow problem.
Janet Barber was suffering from localised pain through the brachioradialis (forearm muscles) and the extensor Carpi radialis longus muscles, which control muscle movement at the wrist. She visited Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne for a consultation with Andy Swan, one of the clinic’s masseuses. On her initial visit, Andy took a history from Janet about her elbow pain in her right arm, she was unable to lift objects or reach without pain or discomfort.
She had a very limited range of motion with the arm, and so Andy used a combination of massage techniques such as soft tissue release. Soft tissue release or STR involves the therapist using manual pressure on a muscle to create a temporary false attachment point before taking the muscle into a pain-free stretch to untangle the muscle fibres. STR is used to increase range of movement, relieve pain, prevent, repair and manage injuries.
Andy also used Neuromuscular technique (N.M.T), which consists of alternating levels of concentrated pressure on the areas of muscle spasm. The massage therapy pressure is usually applied with the fingers, knuckles, or elbow and some cross friction on the forearm muscles. The purpose of cross friction massage is to maintain the mobility within the soft tissue structures of ligament, tendon, and muscle, preventing adherent scars from forming.
Janet visited Andy for regular treatment over a period of 4 weeks. By the end of the course of treatment, Janet had regained full use and function of the arm with no re-occurrence of the pain that had been hampering her daily activity.
A bit about Lushington Chiropractic:
The highly qualified and genuinely caring team at Lushington in Eastbourne have over 80 years’ of experience between them. They are an extremely professional and dedicated team who deliver the highest level of service with patients who appreciate the genuine, friendly atmosphere.
My Clinic Assistant Experience
My Clinic Assistant Experience
Hi I’m Judy, eighteen months ago I was looking for a job after working in the same place for 13 years, I had no idea what I might be qualified for as my husband had been my boss for the last 20 years and he didn’t really ask for a CV!!! (he would have said what’s a cv!)
I saw a job advertised for a clinic assistant at Lushington Chiropractic, could this be the job for me, could I do it?!! I knew by the job description that it was more than a straight forward receptionist job but I had no idea exactly what I would be letting myself in for!!
It was definitely the right decision to apply as now I am part of a wonderful team of people doing a job that I really enjoy where no 2 days are ever the same!! I sometimes feel like I am running around like a headless chicken but I always feel satisfied at the end of the day that I have had a good day.
The Chiropractors are really dedicated to helping people be the best they can be with regards to their health.
I was surprised how much was involved with chiropractic treatment. They help people when they are in a lot of pain but it doesn’t stop there they also advise on exercise, posture, good diet and nutrition to help maintain their recovery.
The massage therapists are excellent at providing sports massages that compliment the work done by the Chiropractors or just a lovely firm massage to get rid of the stresses of the week!
My fellow clinic assistants couldn’t have been more welcoming and helpful and I learnt so much about how to deal with people in a caring, friendly and professional way by just watching them at work. They definitely can be compared to the graceful swan or duck swimming on the lake looking so serene and behind the scenes trying to juggle 6 jobs at a time whilst taking a phone call, sorting the washing and making a cup of coffee!
I have learnt a lot about what Chiropractic actually is and have watched the chiropractors adjusting their guests which has been really interesting as prior to joining the clinic I had no idea what an adjustment actually was. I am continually learning new things about chiropractic
The guests were all lovely, when they realised I was new they were very kind and understanding as I found my way around the appointment booking system!
Lushington Chiropractic continues to be a growing practice and I hope to grow with it for many years to come
Massage Therapist: Sue Hudson – Get to know your Massage Therapist.
Sue Hudson Clinical Sport and Remedial Massage Therapist BSc ( Hons) LSSM (Dip) MISRM
Lushington’s Q & A:
What would your perfect Sunday consist of:
In Summer a nice sea swim followed by coffee and cake ( cake is always required after a sea swim) . Afternoon in the garden and a nice meal in the evening.
There are too many lovely things to choose from to have a favourite – I love trying new and unusual things
Favourite TV show:
QI, Have I got news for you, Mock the week
Inspirational people rather than hero/heroine . Its got to be Sister Madonna Buder – a catholic nun who decided at age 48 to leave her closed order to take up triathlon training and after years of racing still currently holds the world record for the oldest women to complete an ironman length triathlon (2.4mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run) at the age of 81 in 2012– an inspirational person who shows that age is not a barrier!
To compete in – Triathlon – swimming, cycling and running in that order. Also love scuba diving in warm waters although the equipment is a bit heavy out of the water!
I like watching track running and cross country running live rather than on TV .
I Used to have a season ticket at one of the larger London football Clubs but I won’t mention which one.
People taking themselves too seriously
It might have been a hamster but not sure if it was mine or my brother’s but it soon escaped and was replaced by an unfriendly black cat. (The cat might have had something to do with the hamster’s disappearance.)
Try out new things. Stay active and enjoy it. Keep learning.
How many places have you travelled to:
Far too many to list but since taking up Triathlon I have competed in Australia, New Zealand, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Holland, Madeira, Hungary, Czech Republic, Hawaii and Canada.
Have also visited most of Europe and North Africa, bits of the USA and the middle East , Mexico , Fiji and Iceland
Lots more still on the list to see !
I think it was Tobacco Road by the Nashville Teens. Still one of my favourites by a great British group despite the name . If you’ve never heard it ….
If you were an animal what would you be and why:
A pine marten .
I once stayed in a cottage in Scotland where they visited every evening. Very inquisitive but wary and they loved jam sandwiches as a treat .
What was your favourite toy as a child:
A red tricycle . Many hours spent out with my friends cycling around east brighton park and along the undercliff walk in Brighton.
Can you play any instruments?:
NO but I tried the gazoo.
Any unusual hobbies:
Coaching adult triathletes in running and swimming .