When looking at working with a person who has just strained their hamstring you will want to first help them to not only get out of pain but also to regain the elasticity to the muscles. It is important to note that you may want to consult a doctor before treating if it looks more serious than just a mild strain. It is best to always clear the patient with the doctor if at all possible. After clearance here is the protocol that we follow.
Try and work to alleviate the pain to the area try using some sort of analgesic such as Biofreeze in combination with icing. We usually put the Biofreeze on first and then ice over the area. We recommend filling a Dixie cup with water and freezing to form ice. You fill the Dixie cup up about ¾ of the way water and then freeze. Then use the frozen Dixie cups to ice massage to the area using a circular motion. This is our preferred method because you receive the benefit of a massage motion of icing the area as well as the relief of the cold ice to the injury.
After icing the area we will work to start to get the area moving again. Many times a severe strain will need to be kept immobilized for a short time, but with mild sprains and strains, you can begin moving shortly after the injury. With each stretch, you will go slow and easy. We are trying to heal tissue by re-oxygenating the tissue and promoting blood flow to decrease swelling.
Single Leg Pelvic tilt
The first stretch to try will be the Single Leg Pelvic tilt. With this, we work to first open up the gluteal and upper hamstring. You will want to go slow and easy closely monitoring their pain throughout the process.
Bent Knee Hamstring Stretch
The second stretch will be the Bent Knee Hamstring Stretch. This will help to open up the distal end of the lower hamstring muscles.
Straight Leg Hamstring Stretch
The third stretch you can work with them on will be the Straight Leg Hamstring Stretch. This will work to open up the muscle at the proximal end and the belly of the muscle.
Finally, at the end of the treatment, I would recommend icing the area again to relax the tissue and give instructions on self-care when leaving you.
Once again this is a basic outline of how we treat a client with a mild hamstring strain. You must always work inside of your knowledge base and scope of your professional practice.