Someone stopped into the clinic yesterday with a hamstring strain asking what type of stretches she should be doing. She also mentioned that someone recommended she put heat on it. First question is always “When did this occur?” “Yesterday.” “Well, in that case, use PRICE.” For 24-48 hours following an injury I recommend PRICE.
Protection: When an area is injured, you want to make sure you protect it from reinjury.
Rest: Do NOT skip this step. Allow your body to heal. If you don’t wait an adequate time and rest the affected area, you run the risk of reinjury or improper healing, and then it could potentially turn into a chronic problem.
Ice: Ice is the only modality you want to use immediately following injury and for two days after, NOT heat. Ice is an anti-inflammatory and at this stage you don’t want to do anything that would increase swelling, such as heat. Use ice 15 minutes every hour in most cases. If you need an ice pack recipe, click here.
Compression: A little bit of compression wrapping will help to limit swelling, but be sure not to wrap the area too tightly as you don’t want to restrict blood flow.
Elevation: Keep the affected limb elevated above the level of your heart in order for swelling to be kept at minimum.
Still in pain, not sure of what to do? Find a PT or seek medical attention from your doctor.
Thanks to wwarby on Flicker.com for this picture!