Sports injuries are common ones, even if you have no aspirations to be anywhere near professional sport in your life. One of the most common types of sports injuries is a pulled hamstring, and it’s something that can happen as much during high-strain sports activities as it can while you’re doing entirely normal things like trying to cross the road.
If you suspect that you might have pulled or torn a hamstring, you’ll know it. It can be one of the most painful types of sports injuries, and it can keep you out of action for several days to weeks at a time while your body tries to recover from the damage.
Extreme pain in the hamstring, repetitive cramping in the hamstring and a loss of mobility for the healing period are just some of the symptoms you might experience from a pulled hamstring.
What can you do about it?
Here are 14 natural cures for a pulled hamstring that might help.
1. Wearing a Brace
The use of braces is recommended if you have any type of muscle or joint weakness or injury. Even though the brace by itself might not cure what’s wrong with the muscle, the use of the brace can help to strengthen the muscle while still taking some pressure off the joint and allowing it to heal the way it’s supposed to.
There are practical braces available for every body part you can imagine, including the ankles, knees, wrists and back – but also for the hamstrings if you have sustained an injury to this part of the body and want to prevent it from being injured any further.
Start wearing a brace that holds the hamstring together as soon as possible after the injury, and from there try to keep the hamstring as immobile as possible for as long as you can until it has healed properly and you’re sure that it has.
2. Massaging the Area
If you have sustained a serious muscle injury like a pulled hamstring, one of the first impulses that most people have is to physically grab at the injury and to massage away the initial signs of pain and discomfort. The reason people do this is because of the fact that it works.
The immediate application of heat and massage to the area the injury has occurred can help the swelling to be less bad later on – and repeated massage throughout the healing period can also help to promote the kind of cellular regeneration you need in order to heal from the injury properly.
Massage is one of the best ways to get an injury to heal in a more natural way. If you’ve never done it before, there are many YouTube videos that can tell you how a sports therapist would approach a hamstring injury that can help show you what you’re supposed to be doing.
3. Wrapping the Hamstring
Even though putting the injury directly into a brace is one of the best ways to treat it, it’s true that a lot of people aren’t going to have the right kind of brace in the right size nearby when the injury happens. Nobody plans for an injury, and you don’t go to the shopping mall in the morning thinking, “Oh, I’d better buy a brace because I’m pulling my hamstring at four tonight” because there’s usually no way to predict what you’ll injure or when.
Wrapping the hamstring is the second-best thing you can do if you don’t have a brace. The heat from the bandages can help the potential swelling to go down, and the fit of the bandages can make sure you’re less likely to move (and further injure the hamstring.
Make sure that you don’t wrap your injury any tighter than you have to. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s probably too tight.
4. Vibrational Therapy
The use of vibrational therapy machines is one of the options recommended after certain surgeries: Small electrodes are strapped to the skin, and vibrations are sent through into the muscle from there with varying levels of intensity – and while it’s uncomfortable, it’s not painful.
After surgery, it’s one of the ways to develop muscle strength in patients who are less able to get up and move around. (Yes, it’s like the exercise machine that “vibrates the fat off you” except much smaller.)
It can also be useful for a lot of things other than surgery, including the recovery of muscle injuries such as a pulled hamstring. Done in moderation and far enough into the healing process, the use of vibrational therapy can help you to heal from your injury faster.
If you don’t have access to a machine at home, these can be rented or bought from medical supply stores – or alternatively, call a physiotherapist or sports therapist and ask them where you can find one.
5. A Warm Bath
The application of heat directly to muscle injuries is something we’ve been doing for centuries, and it’s something that injured sportspeople continue to do today. Other than massage, applying heat is one of the first bases urges you’ll experience if you’ve pulled a muscle – and it’s your body trying to guide you towards the right thing to do for healing your injury.
Exposure to cold makes muscles contract: Shock and pain can do the same thing. If you combine all of these things together, you have a muscle injury that hurts far more than it’s supposed to. Applying heat can help shock, pain and cold subside all at the same time – and make the injury heal at a better rate while relieving the pain almost immediately.
Try a warm bath if you can’t get rid of the pain and tension from a pulled hamstring: Just remember to brace or wrap up after the bath is done to avoid injuring a relaxed muscle.
6. Applying Direct Heat
Many types of muscle injuries can mean that it’s impractical or uncomfortable to get into a warm bath without risking further damage to the injury – and other times you might just have access to a shower that means you can’t immerse the injury directly into hot water in the way that you would like to.
There are other ways to treat a pulled hamstring, although it’s true that the application of heat is still going to be one of the best things you can do for the hurt and tense muscles in your body.
Heated pads are one way in which you can apply direct heat to a pulled hamstring where it’s not practical to get into a warm bath for it. Sometimes wrapping an injury together with heating gel can also have the same effect if you don’t have heating pads on hand.
Combine direct heat with some of the other methods in this article for the best possible effect.
7. Cooling the Area Down
Sometimes it’s not just heat that can help an injury to heal better, but cold can too. Even though the cold makes muscles contract and this might sometimes be painful, this might also occasionally be the effect that your body is looking for depending on what your injury looks like under the surface.
If you have a pulled hamstring, it could be that you also have a stretched hamstring. This means that the tendons and muscles were injured in such a way that they lengthened and will need time to return back to their original form.
What this means for you is that a different approach to treating the pain could be best. If you notice that heat isn’t helping to relieve the pain, switch over to using cold on the injury instead. It just might be what your body is looking for – and combined with another method on this list, it can be one of the best natural ways to relieve the pain.
8. Essential Oil Treatments
Essential oils are available in most health stores, drug stores, esoteric stores, and craft stores – or you can just head online and order what you need from a retailer that stocks everything you could think of.
There are a thousand different ways to use essential oils, including the application of the oils to a warm bath (recommended earlier in this article) and the inclusion of essential oils in a base cream that’s applied directly to the injury together with regular massage and either wrapping or bracing it.
Essential oil treatments are great for muscle injuries, and choosing the right combination of essential oils for muscle health can mean that you’re rid of your pulled hamstring injury a lot faster.
If you’ve never worked with essential oils before, remember that most of them will need to be diluted or they can be strong enough to cause allergy-like effects and contact rashes.
9. The Aloe Way
It can easily be said that aloe vera is one of the best and most powerful plants found in the “natural health” arsenal – and it can be relied on for anyone of a thousand different uses, including healing bone injuries, promoting the immune system or for very common sports injuries like a pulled hamstring.
Aloe promotes healing in a way that very few other things are able to. The inclusion of aloe into your routine just a few weeks or months after a recent injury can mean that your injury heals better and faster than it would have done without it.
It can be located in supplement form, or sometimes in powders, creams, and sprays for anyone who doesn’t want to take a supplement. For muscles, creams for direct application can be best to penetrate the roots of the injury where it might help you heal a pulled hamstring better.
10. Wearing Compression Socks
Compression socks are available everywhere, and they’re one of the first recommended options for anyone struggling with circulation issues, anyone at risk of blood clots or anyone recovering from surgery. This isn’t their only use, and compression socks are just as great for bracing up a muscle injury when you have nothing else on hand.
Wearing compression socks after a recent injury or flare-up can help to promote circulation in an injury that isn’t going to be moving for a while during the healing period. It can also help to keep the injury warm where it can relieve the pain associated with a pulled muscle.
As a precaution, be entirely sure that your compression socks fit and that they’re doing what they’re supposed to. If you feel any pins and needles, remove the compression socks immediately and switch over to bracing or bandaging the injury instead: This is a sign that it’s too tight.