General Question

Cruiser's avatar

Can I or should I self rehabilitate a torn hamstring?

Asked by Cruiser (40421points) August 30th, 2010

I blew out my hamstring a week ago and am scheduled to start a long and expensive physical therapy treatment. Because of a high deductible this will cost me a lot of money out of pocket and being athletic, in good shape and cheap, I really feel I can do this on my own. Today is my first day without a brace and the leg feels ready for stretching and I am getting mixed schools of thought as to whether or not doing this myself would be a good idea. I feel my background in yoga gives me most if not all the tools I need to stretch this back out as good if not better than what a PT would do for me and at no cost to me. Any jellies out there with similar experiences or expertise on this matter?? Am I being penny wise and pound foolish??

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20 Answers

Rarebear's avatar

You shouldn’t try to do it yourself.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Only if you’re okay with risking permanent damage to yourself. If you start the physical therapy, and strictly adhere to what they tell you to do, you should heal up faster. This means that you don’t take the direction, “if this feels good, more is better.”

Perhaps you can talk to the physical therapist about the problem with the services not being covered, and ask if they can help set up a routine for you that can maximize the visits, so you can do more self-management.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’d go to the first session and see what the therapist recommends for treatment. If he/she uses electrostimulation, you should work with them for a while. If it’s straight exercise treatment, you can do that on your own. Just my thoughts. Tore a rotator cuff last year and the electrostuff seemed to work pretty good.

Cruiser's avatar

@Rarebear I kind of already know that much but I guess I would like to know your reasons for why or why not?

Cruiser's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I did have a first session last Wed and did get the electro treatment and scheduled for more, but I was taken aback by how little that did for me if anything and he scraped a metal bar across the leg to help flush the blood from the bleeding muscle. Anyway I felt HS I am paying this guy that much money for THAT?! I already have started mild stretching and am finally off pain meds…so it really now is a matter of finances and I can think of a hundred other things I would rather spend that much money on.

Cruiser's avatar

@BarnacleBill That is a good suggestion and I already broached that part and the doc to his credit did admit that the more I do on my own the faster I will heal.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Cruiser Two words: Bleeding muscle. Do I need to say much more? My shoulder still gives me a little grief and I went to all the sessions. It could end up a permanent mess, so try a few more.

Cruiser's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe That doesn’t scare me as much as his bill for services rendered. AFAICT, all he will do is massage and stretch the muscle again which I am already doing now on my own.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Then you might be ok doing it yourself. It’s not like a knee or other joint. Being a large muscle you probably have a little more room for error.

CaptainHarley's avatar

If you want to risk permanent injury that will limit you for the rest of your life, sure, go ahead and do it yourself.

Cruiser's avatar

@CaptainHarley I already have the permanent injury as my doc already told me the best I can hope for is 95% recovery of the muscle. Seriously, what are these more permanent risks you refer to?

CaptainHarley's avatar

It’s very easy to feel like you’re all healed up, when in fact you still have a ways to go. Putting strain on one of the larger muscles in the body like that can gain you a permanent limp, weakness in the injured leg, etc. I strongly advise against “DIY healing” for something that serious.

RomanExpert's avatar

Yes. I believe you can self rehabilitate your hamstring. Especially since your leg is feeling better. I work out regularly and I have worked as a wellness center trainer. A hamstring tear is a severe muscle injury with about a six week recovery period. The best rehab for a hamstring injury is riding a bicycle, regular or stationary. A stationary bike offers you the advantage of pedaling backwards, or of course you can free wheel pedal backwards on your regular bike. Professional athletes always a have a stationary bike at the ready on the sidelines. Don’t stretch the muscle until it has completely healed. And, don’t listen to the scaredy cats who want to see you waste your hard earned money the way they do!

CaptainHarley's avatar

@RomanExpert

Telling people who are injured they are throwing their money away on physicians is irresponsible.

Vincentt's avatar

Two months ago I tore my hamstring, didn’t go to see an expert at the time. It felt good, I could start running and actually played some football the day before yesterday. But then yesterday I (stupidly) participated in a futsal tournament without warming up, and directly the first game I tore it again. It’s not as bad as it was, but I’m seriously grumpy for being out of the running for some time now, and I’m definitely going to see an expert this time. Of course, I can get it refunded.

I guess the moral of the story could be that you should see an expert, or that you should be really careful once you think it’s OK.

RomanExpert's avatar

@CaptainHarley If he’s asking, I’m telling. I tell people what I know is the truth and I’m around it everyday. Giving the doctor your money isn’t going to help your hamstring heal faster, doing more rehab on your own is! @Cruiser I’m surprised he isn’t trying to get you on more meds, they like kickbacks!

Cruiser's avatar

@RomanExpert I understand what @CaptainHarley is saying and that is the advice I am getting the most of and from people who don’t have to pay my bills. I rehabilitated my own herniated disc in my back after 3 chiros failed miserably at it. Of course after that experience I am biased but from what I have read there are those that say DIY is opening the door to failure and then there are those such as you and even the Mayo clinic that says it is simply stretching and strengthening and even this doc who said what I do in between therapy sessions is where most of the progress will be made.

So I am just looking for justification over doing or not doing therapy….$2,000 seems like a lot of money for something that looks like I can do myself and apparently will do most of anyway is all I am trying to figure out here. Thanks a bunch for your input!

RomanExpert's avatar

@Cruiser Yes. Right. Don’t listen to the health care “junky” scaredy cats who are all out of shape and go to the doctor’s eight days a week because they stubbed their toe six months ago and this is the only way they can get attention! You are going to do most of the rehab on your own. Again, do NOT stretch the muscle until it has completely healed, that will slow the healing process. Think of getting the blood flowing through the muscle by warming up, again, on the bike, and in reverse. Get in the pool too. I have helped myself and others with hamstring and other injuries.

Rarebear's avatar

@Cruiser Because unless you really know what you’re doing, you could damage the muscle more. The usual mistake people make is that they start feeling good and they go back to old habits. Rehab involves a standardized daily exercise protocol that doesn’t stress your muscles. If you’re worried about costs, what you could do is go to one appointment, tell them of your financial restraints, and then get an exercise program from them. A good physical therapist will do that for you. Stick with the program and don’t try to stress it. Go back periodically for check ins.

Cruiser's avatar

@Rarebear That is my plan. I will go to at least one more session tomorrow only because I have discovered just how bad I did tear it up but I am getting along much better and because of my yoga background feel more than capable to do what would be required to rehabilitate the muscles.

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