As noted by Erik Dalton, PhD., in his Volume IV Myoskeletal Alignment DVD set, a common dysfunction with the hamstring muscle group is ‘fascial bag adhesions’, rather than contracture, or chronic shortening in the hamstrings.
A few simple techniques can be administered by soft tissue therapists to help separate these fascial adhesions between bicep femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus, additionally creating room for the sciatic nerve to slide around. Your soft tissue therapist may ask for movement, by way of your muscular contraction, to enhance the central nervous system perception of the ‘new’ resting length in the tissue, as we now know, connective tissue is highly innervated.
Here are a few examples of Myoskeletal Alignment Techniques used at Stay Tuned Therapeutics to bring relief to tired, achy, bagged up hamstrings…
By ‘shortening’ the tissue, we take tension out of the distal attachment of bicep femoris, allowing the therapist to sink to the restrictive barrier. Recall gastrocnemius runs deep to hamstring attachments.
As your therapist ‘pins’ into the tissue, external rotation of the femur helps separate the medial fibers of semimembranosus and semitendinosus from bicep femoris. The short head of the bicep femoris is often exquisitely tender and caution must be taken here.
Shortening the hamstrings group once again, providing movement re-educates the tissue. As the therapist drops the leg down toward the table, they may introduce gliding strokes up the thigh, or maintain a solid pin hand to really lengthen and separate the fascial adhesions. In some schools of thought, this may increase contactability of the tissue. Imagine that, if it is not bound to its neighbor,muscle may have increased function? But I have no proof, that’s just what I hear from clients.
This video features some of the hamstring techniques. Not just for ‘runners’.