The hamstring muscles, along with the quadriceps, calves, feet, hands, and abdominals are the most common muscle groups affected by cramps. It is estimated that 95% of the populations will have a cramp at some time during their life, with the risk of cramping increasing with age.
A muscle cramp may occur during activity but can also occur when you are sitting or even sleeping. Cramps can be a minor annoyance or extremely painful and can cause you to immediately stop whatever you are doing until the pain passes.
A cramp can involve the entire muscle, only part of it, or the group of muscles that act together (i.e. the hamstring group of muscles; semitendinosus, biceps femoris, and semimembranosus).
The hamstring muscles are long muscles that cross 2 joints, your hip and knee, and work by contracting and expanding.
The contraction and expansion motion of the hamstring muscles is determined by the signals that are sent to the brain. When a muscle contracts involuntarily (i.e. the signal for the muscle to contract overcomes the signal for it to expand, or relax) it can result in a hamstring muscle cramp.
In some cases, a severe muscle cramp may not release on its own and stretching it manually may be necessary to help relax and lengthen the contracted muscle. If the connective tissue attached to the muscle is weak or the cramp is particularly severe, it may cause the tendons or ligaments to strain or tear. For someone with weak bone structure (i.e. severe osteoporosis), muscle cramps have even been known to cause bone fractures.
Causes of Hamstring Cramp
A muscle cramp is caused by abnormal activity in the hamstrings, either in the nerve signals or within the muscles themselves. This abnormal activity can be caused by:
- Vigorous activity - the cramp may occur during the activity or several hours later.
- Muscle fatigue from overexerting or repetitive use of the muscle, or from sitting in an awkward position.
- Lactic acid build up when overloading or overexerting the muscle.
- Low electrolyte levels or dehydration - Muscles require water, calcium, magnesium, and potassium to function properly.
- A muscle that has been overstetched or held in one position for a long time.
- New exercises that involve unused muscles.
- Inadequate blood supply caused by narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
- Multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, other nervous system diseases, or spinal cord damage.
- Disease such as diabetes, kidney disease, anemia, or thyroid abnormalities.
Hamstring Cramp Symptoms
When you experience a cramp in the hamstring muscles you may feel:
- A sudden burst of pain, often severe, that stops after a few seconds to a few minutes.
- A bulge in the cramped muscle that will feel very hard and tense.
- Tenderness and swelling that may last for several days.
- Night time wakening if the cramps occur during sleep (nocturnal cramps).
Treating a Cramp in the Hamstring Muscle
Hamstring cramps are frustrating to live with especially when they occur during activity and sports. Keeping your body hydrated and replacing electrolytes during and following activities are positive steps toward preventing cramps. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ is a home based treatment therapy that is used to relax your hamstring muscles and keep them healthier to reduce the occurence of muscle cramping. The Inferno Wrap® will get you back to regular activities sooner, stop your muscle pain, and reduce the risk of hamstring muscle injury and further cramps.
Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™
If there is no inflammation and swelling in the muscles that are cramping, a quick and painless way to get rid of a cramp is to increase blood flow to the muscles. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®) promotes blood flow to the back of your thigh bringing the necessary oxygen and nutrients to your muscle fibers. BFST® speeds up the body's natural repair process and loosens the contraction by relaxing the fibers.
The Inferno Wrap® is the tool you need to treat your hamstring cramp and help prevent future cramps. Not only does it help you maintain healthier hamstring muscles through BFST®, the gentle internal warming that is produced with the increase in blood flow relaxes your thigh muscles and reduces cramps. In addition, the improved blood flow whisks away dead cells and toxins that have built up from your hamstring cramps, further loosening your muscles and reducing pain.
Keeping your muscle fibers hydrated, nourished and as healthy and strong as possible will help you reduce and even eliminate annoying and painful cramps. The Leg/Arm Inferno Wrap®, available exclusively from MendMeShop®, provides effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief and muscle relaxation without side effects.
The benefits of BFST® do not end once your hamstring stops hurting! Even when your upper thigh muscles are not cramping, your activities can put them at risk of an overuse injury, tightness, or strain. An Inferno Wrap® treatment before activity is an easy way to warm up the muscles and prepare them for use. Then, end your day with another treatment to prevent tightness from setting in overnight. This incredible healing tool will be useful for years to come!
MendMeShop® Inferno Wrap® - Improved Range of Motion!
One of the most common complaints after a hamstring injury begins to heal is tightness and a limited range of motion. The tightness is caused by tough fibrous scar tissue build up on the muscles and/or tendons. Scar tissue is the body's way to heal tissue quickly. It forms at the site of the injury to repair tears, small or large. Although it repairs the tears, scar tissue is inflexible, prone to re-tearing, and can cause pain. Healthy tissue is stronger and more elastic. Healthy tissue allows your muscles and tendons to expand and contract easily, without pain and with less risk of tearing again. Treating scar tissue is the only way to restore muscle function properly and get your range of motion back!
The Inferno Wrap® is an effective and pain-free way to soften scar tissue and return your muscle tissue to a more flexible, stronger state. Physical therapy, manipulation, and deep tissue massage can help to treat scar tissue but these methods are expensive, time consuming, painful, and in some cases, may require further tearing to loosen the scar tissue.
A personal Inferno Wrap® allows you to treat your hamstring injury conveniently using Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ in your own home, on your schedule, and for less time and money than any other method. Inferno Wraps® also increase the flexibility of the muscle tissue, which speeds along the healing process and decreases your chance of re-injury. A 15 to 25 minute treatment, twice a day, will speed healing and further reduce your painful pulled hamstring symptoms while improving the range of motion in your upper leg. That's all it takes to get your hamstring muscle back to normal and you back to your activities!
Healthy tissue is strong and elastic but when muscle fibers have been injured or overused they are weaker and the once healthy tissue is held together with scar tissue. Healthy tissue allows your muscles and tendons to expand and contract easily, without pain and with less risk of tearing again. Scar tissue leaves your muscles tight, prone to injury, and limits your range of motion!
In addition, hamstring pulls can lead to other overuse injuries if left untreated. The pain of a pulled hamstring can cause you to re-adjust your posture and change your gait to take weight off your sore hamstring muscles. This can cause excess strain in your back, hip, knees and ankles. The Inferno Wrap® can be used to treat all of your strains and tears, as well as other painful conditions like bursitis, tendinitis, and joint pain. It is a great tool to have on hand for so many soft tissue injuries!