The large muscle on the back of the upper leg is generally referred to as the hamstring. Usually, a pulled muscle responds best to ice. We advise you to apply an ice pack that has a thin cloth covering so you do not damage the skin with too much cold. Apply it to the sore muscle area 20 minutes on, followed by 20 minutes off, while awake, for at least 2 days.
Also, if you have no allergies to aspirin or related medications called NSAIDS (non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin),naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn), then you will probably benefit from taking one of these according to their package instructions for 5 to 7 days. Take them with food to help avoid stomach irritation.
As the pulled muscle improves, you may need to do gentle stretching exercises. Pain will be your guide. If it hurts, stop. Re-attempt a few days later and remember, be gentle. Let it heal.
In addition to the above, after your initial 2 to 3 days of ice applications, it may respond to moist heat. We then advise moist heat (hot washcloth, soak in hot bath or hot tub) for 20 minutes, 4 times a day. If these suggestions are not helping, and you are not improving, or if you are worse at any time, you should be examined by a physician or other health care provider.
Question: I am 40 and have severe lower back pain. My left leg goes numb as I walk, and has lately gotten worse. While sitting, it feels like someone is stabbing my back.
Numbness in the leg associated with your back pain might represent inflammation of the sciatic nerve, commonly called sciatica. Sciatica can be caused by muscle spasms, by sacroiliac joint dysfunction, OR it may represent a more serious condition involving a bulging disk causing pressure on the nerves exiting the spine.
Non steroidal Anti inflammatory Drugs like Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Naprosyn, or good old Aspirin taken with food to help prevent stomach upset, can go a long way toward pain control and reducing inflammation of the nerves and muscles.
The suggestions for pulled hamstring muscles mentioned above can be followed for low back pain.
For the very common sacroiliac dysfunction, gentle manipulation by a physician specializing in either Osteopathic Manipulation or Chiropractic may be all that has needed for complete resolution of your condition.
If muscle weakness in the foot or leg occurs, you need to go to the ER immediately for evaluation and treatment. If your condition is due to pressure from a bulging disk and it is causing pain and muscle weakness, it could result in permanent damage to the nerves.