If you have a Grade I or Grade II strain, your doctor will ask you to follow the RICE rule:
Rest the injured muscle (and take a temporary break from sports activities).
Ice the injured area to reduce swelling.
Compress the muscle with an elastic bandage.
Elevate the injured area.
To help relieve muscle pain and swelling, your doctor may suggest that you take acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and others). For someone with a painful back strain that does not improve with NSAIDs or acetaminophen (Tylenol), prescription pain medications or muscle relaxants may be appropriate.
If you have a severe Grade II or Grade III strain, your doctor may refer you to an orthopedic specialist. Depending on the severity and location of your muscle strain, the orthopedist may immobilize the injured muscle in a cast for several weeks or repair it surgically.
Mild strains may heal quickly on their own, but more severe strains may require a rehabilitation program.