By: Chris Kimbrough
Hamstrings are one area of my body that seems to speak a foreign language. Ever since I went from recreational jogger to competitive runner my upper hamstring has been my nemesis. I have come to realize it will probably always be nagging me to some degree.
My hamstring pains vary from a dull ache on some runs to a “pinging pain” with each foot strike on others. Some of the worst bouts of tightness and pain come after fast races or speed work. So, I know some days are worse than others, but I always seem to work through it. To compete at this level, my hamstring pain is just something I have to endure. Or do I?
Lately, I spend much quality time in the gym strengthening my adductors and abductors. I have learned they serve a bigger role in my hamstring issue than I once thought. So what is the problem? There are a lot of theories out there, but here’s my latest discovery. Along with my adductors, my hips are super tight. There is my problem, not so much the upper hamstring.
Recently, I met an amazing LMT, Susan Muska-Moench. She brought this issue once again to my attention. She specializes in “pin and movement” therapy, which basically is a muscle lengthening technique intended to increase movement of the tissues by moving and/or breaking up adhesions. Likely, my running has caused scar tissue to build up which in turn resulted in nerve entrapment and shortening of the muscles. This would explain my aching and tightness. So, by applying pressure to my problem areas (specifically my adductors and IT insertion) and performing specific movements, the tissue lengthens thus increases blood flow, reduces nerve pain and increases the strength of the muscle. I’m pretty sure its going to take some time, but it makes a lot of sense. I’m not sure if it will turn out to be a cure all treatment for me, but definitely I think it will help me stay on the track and in the race.
For runners my age, my best advice is try to take care of the little things in order to prevent injury.
Here is my to-do-list:
1. Strength training with lots of core and stretching
2. Icing and stretching often after intense workouts and races,
3. Massage and body work of some kind,
4.Always give yourself a rest day when you know you need it. Do this, even though you don’t want it.
Here’s my LMT’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Susan gives a 30 minute free pain evaluation if you are interested. Her office is located in North Austin. Truest me, the quality of work is absolutely worth the drive!