Hamstring injuries are common among both amateurs and professional athletes. a hamstring injury is caused by a strain or tear to the tendons or large muscles of the hamstring. There are 3 grades of a hamstring injury:
Grade 1 - a mild muscle pull or strain
Grade 2 - a partial muscle tear
Grade 3 - a compete muscle tear
A grade 1 can take a few days or couple of weeks to heal, whereas it could take weeks or months to recover from a muscle tear (grade 2 or 3).
During the first few days you should care for your injury using RICE therapy:
Rest - Keep your leg as still as possible and avoid physical activity.
Ice - Apply cold packs up-to 20-minutes at a time every 2 to 3 hours.
Compression - compress or bandage the thigh to limit any swelling and movement that may further damage the area.
Elevation - Keep you leg raise and supported on a pillow as much as possible to held reduce swelling.
You may want to consult a pharmacist about the best painkillers to use for your injury.
Prevention and Strengthening
Massage is a fantastic prevention for hamstring injury, but can also be used to treat hamstring injury, normally 7 days after a grade 1 or with permission from your consultation with a grade 2 or 3.
Treatment - The goal during treatment is to reduce swelling and speed healing through gentle massage by stretching the muscle fibres.
Prevention - Once fully treated, the treatments can move to deep tissue work to help the muscles in the area become more pliable.
Strengthening your hamstrings can reduce the risk of injury. The Nordic hamstring exercise is a fantastic exercise for strengthening your hamstrings and is shown in the below video.