I would go for heat and gentle stretching, and be careful not to overstretch next time!
I'm not a terribly flexible person, and I've gotten out of the habit of stretching regularly. I decided that I needed to add that back into the routine. I did some yoga/stretching last Friday and by that evening, I had terrible pain down the back of my leg (hamstring all the way down to the bottom of my foot) and in my hip flexor. The pain is still there. It's intense enough to keep me up at night, but seems more tolerable during the day. Advil doesn't take away the pain. So, my question is: do I do some more gentle stretching, then ice it? Or do I apply heat and not stretch? Or some combination of the two?
Did you pinch a nerve? I'd go get it checked out.
I would go with Tom Kurz' adivise, use dynamic full ROM exercises like Squats, Deads,... to strengthen your muscles and connective tissue (this alone will make you moree flexible if you really use the FULL ROM available to you).
After a while, start adding isometric stretching 2 - 4 times a week. IMO his book Stretching Scientifically is the best book on stretching out there. I used his horsestance method to get the splits:
YouTube - Sidesplit update
I did the same thing back in November of last year. I was simply sitting on the floor, stretching to touch my toes. POP! I was incapacitated for two weeks after that. I went to an orthopedist that did an MRI and Xrays, both indicating I have a sacralized L5 vertebra, which keeps me from being as flexible as most. Wish I had known that before.
Are you warming up before stretching?
For lots of tasty recipes, check out my blog -http://lifeasadreger.wordpress.com/
@PrimaFist: I'll try some easy stretches and a hot bath. Hope that takes away the pain.
@Monty: I don't think I pinched a nerve. Right now it feels like a big knot in the middle of my hamstring. Could be pinching a nerve, though.
@Longquan: I do lift (deadlifts, squats, lunges, etc.). I will definitely look at the video. I've never been able to do the Chinese splits. Part of it is my hips are quite "right." It may just be that they are extremely tight, but my legs turn in, rather than out (if that makes sense). I can turn my legs in comfortably, but really struggle to turn them the other way. I could do the Korean (Tang so do) horsestance w/toes straight forward, but could never get the Japanese (Shito-ryu) horsestance (w/toes out). My husband can do the splits and put his chest on the floor. Not fair!
@Supersellen: I really didn't warm up. I got out of bed and got to it. Probably not the best plan!
@ Primal Fist: Haha, cool, the world is so small I'm sure if you stick with it you'll get it, most peolpe just don't have enough patience and switch programs like underwear, constantly searching for THE magic bullet. Kurz is the real deal, most of the other flexibility authors just copied his stuff
@JenCat: actually, keeping the feet as parallel as possible is safer for the knees, Kurz explains why in his book!
@Thanks a lot Dragonmamma! Haha, I received lot of bad comments about the cossack vid by young males that were insecure about their sexual orientation