The hamstring muscles (biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus) are long muscles that cross 2 joints (your hip and knee) and work by contracting and expanding. The contraction or 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 spasm.
The hamstring muscles, along with the quadriceps, calves, feet, hands, and abdominals are the most common muscle groups affected by muscle spasms. A muscle spasm can be a small twinge or extremely painful and cause you to immediately stop whatever you are doing until the pain passes. A spasm can involve the entire muscle, part of it, or other muscles adjacent to it.
In some cases, a severe muscle spasm may not release on its own and manual stretching may be necessary to help relax and lengthen the contracted muscle. If the connective tissue attached to the muscle is weak or the spasm is particularly severe, it may cause the tendons or ligaments to strain or tear.
Causes of Hamstring Spasm
A muscle spasm 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:
- A muscle that has been overstretched or held in one position for a long time.
- New exercises that involve unused muscles.
- Inadequate warming up or stretching before exercise.
- Inadequate stretching after exercise (no cool-down).
- You have a pinched nerve near the spinal cord, probably in the lower back
- Pregnancy - spasms are more common in pregnant women. Calcium deficiency can sometimes cause muscle cramping in pregnant women.
- A hamstring injury.
- Lactic acid build up when overloading or overexerting the muscle.
- Low levels of electrolytes or dehydration - Muscles require water, calcium, magnesium, and potassium to function properly. An example of foods rich in such minerals include dark, leafy greens - nuts & seeds - broccoli - bananas - canned fish with edible bones (canned sardines, salmon, tuna) - milk products - egg yolks - brussel sprouts/broccoli/citrus fruits, etc.
- Poor Blood Circulation
- Inadequate blood supply caused by narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
- Multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, other nervous system diseases, or spinal cord damage.
- You take diuretics - medications which cause your body to shed water. Many blood pressure medications and high cholesterol medications (statins) are diuretics.
- Disease such as diabetes, kidney disease, anemia, or thyroid abnormalities.
Symptoms of Hamstring Muscle Spasm
When you experience a hamstring muscle spasm you may feel:
- Twitching in part of the muscle, the entire muscle, or surrounding muscles.
- A sudden burst of pain that stops after a few seconds to a few minutes.
- A bulge in the muscle where the spasm occurs.
- The feeling that you need to stretch your hamstrings.
Treatments for Hamstring Muscle Spasm
Hamstring spasms 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 spasms. When a spasm occurs, there are home treatments you can use to relax the muscle and reduce the spasm. Proper treatment will get you back to regular activities sooner, stop your pain, and reduce the risk of hamstring muscle injury and further spasm.
If you are getting spasms due to a pinched nerve from a spinal injury, you really need to see your physician. You might be able to use conservative treatment methods to help reduce the frequency or severity of such spasms, but the underlying cause will remain without assistance from a physician or surgeon.
The most widely recommended conservative - yet effective - treatments for muscle spasm are:
- change of diet - eat foods rich in postassium, magnesium and calcium
- drink more water - stay hydrated
- heat application
- increase blood flow
Outside of change in diet, the remaining conservative treatments focus on heat (this temporarily increases flexibility and elongates muscles, tendons and ligament), an increase in blood flow and stretches. Cold compression IS NOT a good method to deal with hamstring muscle spasms, but can be used if you suffer re-injury of your hamstring due to the spasms or other activities. Anytime when your hamstring is swollen, inflamed or painful without experiencing the spasms, you should be using cold. The rest of the time, when you are suffering from hamstring muscle spasms, you should be using Circulation Boost to relieve your hamstring muscle spasms.
Promoting blood flow within a muscle or soft tissue injury to help improve muscle function and/or heal muscle strians/tears is a concept that has been utilized for centuries. This is where the focus has to be if you are seeking long-term improvement.
Oxygen and nutrients, carried within the blood, are critical for the body to heal itself. Without proper blood flow, recovering from an injury or condition will be delayed...sometimes for a very long period of time.
More blood now begins to flow effectively to spasming muscles in and around the treated area. Spasmed muscles are typically starved for nutrients - and need the extra blood flow to recover as it is through the blood the body carries the oxygen, water and nutrients needed for proper and long-term healing.
Now, on to recommendation number two in the journey to deal with your spasming muscle...
The Leg T•Shellz Wrap® - Increased Blood Flow & Improved Flexibility For Your Hamstring
Improved tissue flexibility and ncreased blood flow can best be achieved at home via use of the T•Shellz Wrap®. Using a Leg T•Shellz Wrap® on your hamstring stimulates blood flow wherever you apply the wrap - blood flow that relaxes the spasming muscle to end the spasm cycle. Use of this device results in a dramatic increase in blood flow to the area - all in a non-invasive manner.
Have you seen what happens when you add water to a flower wilted from drought? In essence, your injured muscle is much like a "wilted" flower; your body wants to heal its injury, but needs lots of nutrients to do it. Blood brings new life to your tissue by delivering healing nutrients and oxygen that are vital to your tissue. In addition, the blood carries away toxins and waste cleaning the area and healing it faster. Without a good supply of blood, your spasming hamstring muscle simply won't get the nutrients it needs and will continue to spasm.
Using a T•Shellz Wrap® will not expose you to the risk of causing further harm to soft tissue like you can when using rigorous exercise. The Leg T•Shellz Wrap® accomplishes the goal of enhanced blood flow without the need for intensive exercise and as such reduces your risk of re-injury.
The healing energy from the T•Shellz Wrap® will warm soft tissues, improve blood circulation, and boost metabolism and enzyme activity. In stimulating localized blood flow to damaged soft tissue, you provide needed oxygen, water and nutrients to grow and add collagen. In addition, you will experience a clearing of toxins and excess fluid build up from the injury site. Over the intermediate term, this helps to reduce incidents of swelling as trapped fluids will be whisked away - reducing pressure on blood vessels.
Who Should Use the T•Shellz Wrap®
We recommend the use of a T•Shellz Wrap®:
- If you are experiencing muscle spasms, the T•Shellz Wrap® will introduce heat and increased blood circulation to the area (Localized Enhanced Circulatory Response) - exactly what is needed to stop a spasming muscle.
- If you are dealing with conditions affecting your range of motion such as an impingement or even arthritis.
- If you have a chronic soft tissue condition that has lasted for years- this device is intended to help kickstart the recovery process and help strengthen surrounding and supporting tissues. Many of our past clients had suffered for years, then were completely amazed at the results only after a few months of treatments.
- If you are encountering hamstring spasms at work , the T•Shellz Wrap® will help relax your tissue prior to work and after a day at the job. This will help reduces the frequency or risk of muscle spasms.
- If you are still trying to enjoy your favorite activities such as gardening, tennis, golf, etc - use the T•Shellz Wrap® prior to activity to help reduce chances of re-injuring or re-aggravating those targeted tissues.
- If you are experiencing atrophy and want to reduce the chance of re-injury - this is a perfect treatment to use on a regular basis.
- If you have been to a physical therapist (PT) for some form of soft tissue treatment, massage or stretching, then this is exactly what you need.
- If you have injured your leg and need surgery, then you will find the TShellz Wrap to be a powerful tool after surgery to help surgically repaired tissues recover for long-term health. (once the surgery wound has healed and your physician has given the ok - 6 weeks after surgery minimum)
- If you are experiencing tightness in your muscle(s) and want to reduce the chance of re-injury while stretching - we recommend the use of a T•Shellz Wrap® before you stretch.
Increased Blood Circulation = Reduced Risk of Muscle Spasm
Increased Blood Circulation = Increased Healing Capability
T•Shellz Wraps® contain a unique Carbon Fiber Energy Pad which is flexible and will shape to conform to your body. This Energy Pad emits a uniform wave of perfectly safe energy over its entire surface. This energy is absorbed by soft tissue in the treatment area, opening blood vessels, resulting in an increase in blood flow. Increased blood circulation is what your body needs to accelerate the healing of soft tissue and this is why we recommend the T•Shellz Wrap®.
The T•Shellz Wrap® is an FDA Registered Medical Device and is suitable for use in therapeutic clinics and FROM HOME. It is completely safe for people and patients to use for themselves.
The technology found in a T•Shellz Wrap® has been used for decades in the worlds of professional and amateur sports - a contributing factor as to why athletes seem to recover from injuries so quickly.
Have you ever wondered by an athlete can return to activity after 3 or 4 weeks following a soft tissue injury - while your average person takes much longer to return back to normal? The secret isn't really that much of a secret - it involves consistent treatments (meaning multiple times a day) using a treatment like the T•Shellz Wrap® to stimulate blood flow to the injured tissues. Most athletes have the luxury of using in-house facilities many times per day.
How many us can afford the time and money to visit a clinic multiple times a day? Very few indeed. This is how you can gain some of the advantages that athletes enjoy in their injury recovery - by using a device like the T•Shellz Wrap® two or three times a day on a consistent basis.
Consistent Treatments = Consistent And Long Term Improvement
What Else Makes the T•Shellz Wrap® So Special?
We believe the T•Shellz Wrap® to be one of the most effective home treatments to increase localized blood flow to soft tissue in and around the treatment area.
We can promise that you will receive a product that is designed to be safe and does what it is supposed to do... reduce pain (as stated in "Therapeutic Heat and Cold", 4th edition. - Ed. Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin) temporarily increase length & flexibility of soft tissue (as stated in "Therapeutic Heat and Cold", 4th edition. - Ed. Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin) and aid your body in recovering from tendon, muscle and other soft tissue injuries via enhanced blood flow.
The unit plugs into a standard wall outlet to get its power. The nice thing about the power supply is that the same unit can be used in North America and overseas as well. It has the capability to operate between 110v and 230v.
The T•Shellz Wrap® has a special signal controller that can be set for 3 different power levels of application (3=High, 2=Medium, 1=Low). The cord is long enough that you can sit or lie comfortably and watch TV, read or surf the net while you're using it.
Treatments are max 30 minutes in duration and the device can be worn over clothing. This allows you to use the device at work, at home, or really anywhere you have access to an electrical outlet.
Directly below you will find some summarized points from Chapter 9 of "Therapeutic Heat and Cold", 4th edition.
(amazon.com link) Ed. Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin.
Generally it is accepted that heat on soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments) provides the following desirable effects:
- Increases extensibility of collagen tissue. Tissues heated to 45 degrees Celsius and then stretched exhibit a nonelastic residual elongation of about 0.5 to 0.9 percent that persists after the stretch is removed. This does not occur in these same tissues when stretched at normal tissue temperatures.
Stretching of tissue in the presence of heat would be especially valuable in working with ligaments, joint capsules, tendons, fasciae ... that have become scarred, thickened, or contracted. Such stretching at 45 degrees Celsius caused much less weakening in stretched tissues for a given elongation than a similar elongation produced at normal tissue temperatures.
Experiments cited clearly showed low-force stretching could produce significant residual elongation when heat is applied together with stretching or range-of-motion exercises. This is safer than stretching tissues at normal tissue temperatures.
- Muscle spasms have long been observed to be reduced through the use of heat, be they secondary to underlying skeletal, joint, or neuropathological conditions.
- Pain relief, via the reduction of spasms (attendant or secondary). Pain is also at times related to lack of blood supply due to tension or spasm that can be improved by hyperemia (an increase in blood flow).
- Heating muscles produces an increased blood flow level similar to that seen during exercise. Temperature elevation also produces an increased blood flow and dilation directly ... probably through direct action on their smooth muscles. The release of bradykinin, released as a consequence of sweat-gland activity, also produces increased blood flow and vasodilation.
- Increased peripheral circulation provides the transport needed to help evacuate (fluid), which can help inflammation, decrease pain, and help speed healing.
...A Quick Recap of Benefits That Can Be Achieved Via the T•Shellz Wrap®..
- We have T•Shellz Wraps® that can fit on the back, hip, leg, arm, shoulder, knee, plantar, toes, wrist and ankle
- It can be used before exercise to warm up the problematic joint to reduce the risk of injury (heat elongates soft tissue and makes it more flexible)
- FDA Registered medical device for use in home or clinics - high quality, 1 year warranty, 60 day trial period (100% refund guaranteed)
- Increases temporary flexibility and length of tissues (reducing the re-injury factor)
- It soothes pain and whisks away toxins
- Carbon fiber Energy Pad is strong, lightweight, and flexible - contours very easily
- A boost in blood flow helps maximize the body's ability to recover from soft tissue damage. This can be beneficial in saving time and money when associated with doctor or physio visits
- A boost in blood flow will maximize the body's ability to recover quickly. This can be beneficial in post-surgery rehabilitation, getting you back to work faster. Do not use until at least 6 weeks after surgery, and only after approval from your doctor.
When Should I Use My TShellz Wrap During the Day?
The most common question we receive from individuals prior to purchasing is - how many times a day should I be using my T•Shellz Wraps® and when should I be using them? While treatment plans will differ for each individual and their specific condition, there are general guidelines that should be adhered to.
- Use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack when you are experiencing inflammation (usually after exertion or movement of the injury area).
The Leg T•Shellz Wrap® would then be used:
- Right after rising from bed in the morning (as this is when it is most stiff)
- Prior to going to bed at night (to relax the hamstring, allowing for better sleep with extended legs)
- Before you know you will be using your injured muscles (going to work, driving, walking/running, etc).
Learn More About Leg Injuries & Treatments
I want to learn more about Surgery & Post-Surgery Recovery
I want to learn more about Circulation Boost
I want to learn more about Ice & Heat: Which Is Better For Treatment?
I want to learn more about Stretching for the Hamstring
I want to learn more about Soft Tissue Injury Treatments
During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort at the location of your soft tissue injury until the pain and inflammation settle. Always consult your doctor and/or Physical Therapist before using any of our outstanding products, to make sure they are right for you and your condition. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!
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