Have you ever experienced a painful injury due to the sudden pull of your muscles? When this happens, the tissue that is responsible for connecting your muscles to your bones may get overstretched and involve some muscle tear. Muscle strain is best managed by immediate self-care. It is important to be knowledgeable of at-home first aid techniques so you will know what to do when you experience muscle strain from lifting weights, performing your exercises, or doing your chores. In this article, we will discuss the different symptoms of muscle strain along with its causes, treatments, and prevention.
Muscle Strain: An Overview
A muscle strain is one of the most common muscle injuries that almost everyone has experienced. It occurs when there is significant damage to the muscles as well as the tendons that are attached to them. This damage may be caused by too much pressure leading to the overexertion of muscles when performing strenuous activities, heavy lifting, sports, or just by simple movements.
Muscle tear affects several muscle fibers and can lead to problems that can also damage your small blood vessels. When this happens, local bleeding and bruising may occur as well as irritated nerve endings that cause pain.
Common Reason for Having Muscle Strain
Overstretched or torn muscles are the most common causes of muscle strain. It often occurs from fatigue, improper movements, and sudden overuse of muscles. A strain may happen to several areas that are often utilized, such as your hamstrings, your neck, your shoulders, or your lower back. However, you may also experience strain from other parts of your body, as long as there are muscles and tendons attached to it.
Here are the reasons why you may be prone to experience muscle strain:
- You did not perform warm ups or cool downs before and after your physical activity
- Your muscles are not flexible enough
- You performed movements beyond your body’s capacity
- You are not in the proper condition to perform activities
- Symptoms of Muscle Strain
- The most common symptoms of muscle strain may include the following:
- Swelling and redness of the area of injury
- Sharp pain, even at rest
- Pain that is triggered when a specific muscle or joint is pressed or used
- Weakness within the affected area
- Inability to move and use the muscle
What To Do When You Experience Symptoms of Muscle Strain
If you have any symptoms relating to muscle strain, it is best to assess your condition first within the next 24 hours. Minor strain heals on its own and will get better with rest. A warm compress may also help to reduce swelling. However, you are required to talk to your doctor and seek medical care if the pain does not subside within the said period.
A strain may be a medical emergency and is considered critical when you happen to hear a popping sound, unbearable pain, inability to move, or there are significant cuts and fever that come with your injury. Be careful when you do squats or weight lifting.
Physical Exams and Tests
Your doctor will perform physical tests within the affected area to assess the severity of your muscle strain. This process is important to know if whether your muscles are partially affected or if it is completely torn apart. In instances where there was a history of trauma, an X-ray may be necessary. Lab tests may also be requested by your doctor if he notices signs of infection.
A major strain may involve much-complicated recovery techniques and will take longer to heal. There is also the possibility of surgery as well as physical therapy.
Treatment of Muscle Strains
First Aid and Self Care
You can significantly reduce swelling, prevent local bleeding, and prevent further muscle tear by applying an ice pack over the affected area. Be sure that you maintain the muscle strain in its stretched position to avoid bruising. Once the swelling has subsided, you may apply heat for relief and comfort.
If you are on an advanced level of muscle strain, your doctor may require you to accomplish intensive care techniques. This involves surgery, the use of crutches or braces, as well as restricted activities. Your doctor will also determine if you will need rehabilitation activities and physical therapy that will help hasten your improvement and recovery.
Prevention of Muscle Strain
Aside from maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can reduce the chances of muscle strain from occurring by following some basic precautions such as:
- Improve your flexibility by doing stretching exercises.
- Performing warm-ups and cool-downs prior to and after your exercise routine.
- Avoid sitting for a long period.
- Maintaining good posture, whether sitting or standing.
- Being careful when lifting objects or doing pulling exercises.
- Being vigilant and prevent sudden falls.
- Losing weight if you’re above normal weight.
- Wear snuggly fitting footwear.