Megan limped off of the soccer field after a hard tackle, obviously in pain. She told me she pulled a hamstring muscle and didn’t think she could play any more. I evaluated her and determined that while she did injure her hamstring, she probably wouldn’t miss any playing time. More on that later.
Injuries like Megan sustained would normally keep an athlete out of competition for 7-10 days as they wait for their muscles to heal. Typical treatment approaches for acute injuries would include R.I.C.E., or rest, ice, compression and elevation. And she would not be able to return to her sport comfortably for a while. But there is a better way to evaluate and treat certain injuries. Therapists at Freedom Physical Therapy are uniquely trained to assess for and treat all kinds of injuries, including the muscular injury that Megan sustained. Her injury turned out to be a trigger point in her hamstrings, a condition where several fibers of the hamstrings tighten up in response to a sudden movement and cause pain. Trigger points may feel a lot like a strain, but in Megan’s case they responded more quickly. Instead of recovering in days to weeks, she returned to play in the second half of the game.
Trigger points are tender, tight bands in a muscle that refer pain to other areas. I felt that her trigger points would respond well to inserting a solid filament needle into the tender area, thereby eliminating the tight band through a local twitch response. This is exactly what happened. Her hamstrings twitched in response to the treatment and her tightness went away. Just like that. She got back on her feet, tested her leg by jogging and then running, and was back on the field. Without pain.
Before you chalk up your latest injury to a muscle strain and accept that you might be out for a week to 10 days, see a therapist who can help you determine if your injury would respond better to the latest treatment, which may include dry needling. We have therapists at our four locations that can help you determine the best course of action in your recovery.
Even in Mukwonago, where this story took place.