Cramps are very common problem that occurs to almost everyone who is involved in a physical activity. However most other cramps can be caused because of some medical condition or stress, hamstring cramps are mostly caused because of strain on muscles during physical activity etc. Hamstring cramps can occur at the back of the thighs and give a sensation of tightness and pain. It is a type of involuntary contraction of muscles in the hamstrings. There are many conditions that result to this strain in muscles. Today, we will discuss about some major causes of hamstring pain and exercises that can control this hamstring cramps.
What Causes Hamstring Pain?
Hamstring pain can be caused by multiple conditions. Dr. Sumeet Nigam, General Physician from Sahara Hospital, Lucknow explains probable causes for hamstring cramps. He says that hamstring cramp can happen mostly because of three reasons; it can be dehydration during a physical activity, muscle strain or pull, and some kinds of deficiencies in the body. Hamstring pain can last for few hours at the most. If it is not cured by its own in some time, you must consult a doctor and get yourself diagnosed for internal injury or health condition. Unfortunately in some conditions where the muscle cramps occur at night suddenly, it is hard to diagnose the exact cause for the pain.
1. Muscle Strain
Muscle pulls or strains can result to cramps, this is one of the major and most occurring reasons for muscle cramps. In this type of cramps, the pain does not last long and it heals by itself when the muscle loosens up. Muscle strain is result of overuse of muscles during a physical activity such as sports, workout or intensive physical work. This makes muscles vulnerable for injury and cramps. If muscle strains start occurring more frequently, it means you need to provide rest to your muscles and body.
2. Mineral Deficiencies
Sometimes lack of adequate minerals in the body can lead to mineral deficiencies. Mineral deficiencies can cause hamstrings to tighten up and thus cause cramps. Inadequate amount of magnesium, potassium and calcium may result to hamstring cramps. These electrolytes are very important for smooth functioning of the body, hence it is advised to drink more liquids and water to restore good amount of minerals in your body.
This is quite obvious that not providing enough water to the body can lead to health issues. One of the health issues that is faced because of dehydration is muscle cramps. Hamstring pulls and cramps can become common if your body is not constantly hydrated. Working out in hot weather conditions may require excess amount of water because sweat flows out quite rapidly. Hence it becomes important to stay hydrated in order to prevent dehydration and hamstring cramps.
Symptoms of Hamstring Cramps
Most cramps including hamstring do not give any warnings. But there are few symptoms that can be felt which can be warning signs for a hamstring cramp. These symptoms are-
- Sharp pain in hamstrings
- Increasing tightness in legs
- Lump of tissue in muscles
- Contracted muscle
- Feeling of dehydration
Methods to Relieve Hamstring Cramps
Exercises do not prevent hamstring cramps from coming, but they can ease pain and reduce chances of it to occur. These exercises are basically stretching exercises that put pressure on the hamstrings and make them relax.
1. Floor Stretch
This is a basic stretching exercise that is recommended to most people who suffer from pain in their hamstrings and leg muscles. A cramp tightens your muscles, try to stretch muscles in opposite direction to reduce pain and ease cramps.
- Sit on the floor with your legs stretched.
- Keep your legs extended in the front and foot flexed
- Lean forward to touch your feet where the hamstring is stretched
- Hold on in that position for 3-4 seconds and then relax your muscles.
- Repeat this exercise 8-10 times on each side.
2. Hamstring Press
This is done with the help of a rubber or roller that is made up of rubber. It can be used to roll below your hamstring to release pulled hamstring and relax the muscles. The foam roller used in the process needs to placed carefully below your thighs.
- Sit with your legs stretched out
- Place the foam roller beneath your hamstrings
- Move your body forwards and backward on the roller to ease your hamstrings
- Make sure you do not overdo it. Relax your muscles after every two minutes.
- Roll the roller between your knees and buttocks.
3. Hot Compress
Hot compress is widely used to ease the muscle pulls and pain in the muscles. When the muscles get tighten up heat therapy is beneficial to loosen up the cramps and reduce pain. You can make a hot compress at home itself by using a hot water bag or dipping the towel in hot water and massaging your hamstring muscles in the area. Apply hot compress for about 20 minutes to relieve muscle cramps and strains.
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