Sports Massage for Hamstring Strains
Sports Massage for Hamstring Strains
Massage has many benefits but specifically for hamstring strains it can help loosen scar tissue and tight muscles, stimulate blood flow and therefore healing and aid in the stretching of the muscles.
Massage should not be done in the acute stage as this may increase bleeding and prolong the healing process. The acute stage may last from 48 hours (for a grade 1 tear) up to a week for more severe injuries.
The following sports massage guide is intended for information purposes only. We recommend seeking professional advice before attempting any self help treatment.
Technique 1 – Effleurage
Effleurage is used to spread the oil and warm up the muscles ready for deeper techniques.
Technique 2 – Petrissage
Petrissage is another technique used to loosen the muscle fibres. It is a kneading type technique in which one hand moves the muscles in one direction whilst the other pulls them the other way.
Technique 3 – Stripping the muscle
Stripping is a technique used to iron out and lumps and bumps in the muscle. Usually one thumb is used although it can be reinforced with other fingers. It is a slow, purposeful movement in the direction of the blood flow (towards the heart) which can help to remodel the scar tissue.
Technique 4 – Circular frictions
Circular frictions are applied to areas of muscle tightness such as knots, as well as to the scar location to break down the scar tissue and help to realign it.
Contraindications of massage
A contraindication is a situation when massage should not be performed. Continuing with treatment may be more detrimental than beneficial and in some cases may cause serious medical problems.
Any cuts, lacerations or grazes. Obvious really, but it has to be said. You should wait until the scar has properly formed. This is usually between one and two weeks.
In the acute stage these may still be bleeding. Massage will increase bleeding and tissue damage and prolong recovery. After the initial 48 to 72 hours massage may be possible but it will depend on the extent of the injury.
The above also applies to tendon injuries. Complete ruptures will need surgery, not massage.
Muscle and tendon partial tears
Massage may be suitable after a minimum period of 48 hours, longer for more serious injuries.
These are impact injuries causing bleeding within the muscle. Massage to a contusion too soon after the injury may cause further damage and may lead to Myositis Ossificans (bone growth within the muscle).
Burns, Chilblains and Broken bones
Massaging all of these will hurt and cause damage. Don’t do it.
This is inflammation of the sheath that surrounds the bone. Massage directly to the bone may cause irritation. You may be able to massage the surrounding muscles but stay well clear of the bone.
Rheumatoid arthritis and gout
These are inflammatory conditions. The same rules apply here as to acute injuries. Massage may cause further inflammation.
Inflammation to a bursa. A bursa is a small sack of fluid that helps tendons pass over bones at joints. If there is pain, swelling and redness over the skin then massage should be avoided.
A bad contusion or muscle rupture may begind to calcify (grow bone). Massage will make the damage worse.
Infections of the skin and soft tissue
Bacterial infections, viral infections and fungal infections can be spread to other areas of the body by the therapist. Pain may also result from the infection, not an injury so massage will not help.
This is a rare but potentially lethal blood clot in a vein. It is common in the calf muscle area. A deep, sore pain in the belly of the muscle may be a thrombosis. If this is massaged, it may dislodge, travel up the veins and damage the heart.
Artificial blood vessels
Artificial blood vessels which are implanted through surgery should be avoided.
Bleeding disorders such as heamophillia
Massage may cause damage to tissues and result in bleeding.
If you are unsure of any lumps and bumps in the muscle or skin then leave well alone. Most often these lumps are muscle spasms or fatty tissue. An experienced therapist can usually tell.
Absolutely anything else you are not sure of!
Massage should only be done by qualified therapists and the writers of this site accept no responsibility for injury resulting from actions not under their direct supervision or control!