A muscle strain, or pulled muscle, occurs when your muscle is over stretched or torn. This usually occurs as a result of fatigue, overuse, or improper use of a muscle. Strains can happen in any muscle, but they’re most common in your lower back, neck, shoulder, and hamstring.
Sudden onset of pain
Limited range of movement
Bruising or discolouration
A ‘knotted-up” feeling
The practitioner will take a medical history and perform a physical exam. During the exam they will establish where the muscle strain is by palpation and the degree of the muscle strain by any muscle weakness.
In severe cases ultrasound scans or MRI scans may be necessary to advise on the severity of the tear.
Most muscle strains can be successfully treated at home. Minor muscle strains can be treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE).
Avoid using your muscle for a few days, especially if movement causes and increase in pain. Too much rest can cause muscles to become weak, which can prolong the healing process. After two days, slowly begin using the affected muscle group, taking care not to overdo it.
Apply ice immediately after injuring your muscle. This will minimize swelling. Don’t put ice directly on your skin. Use an ice pack or wrap ice in a towel. Keep the ice on your muscle for about 20 minutes. Repeat every hour on the first day. For the next several days, apply ice every four hours.
To reduce swelling, wrap the affected area with an elastic bandage until swelling comes down. Be careful not to wrap the area too tightly, as this can reduce your blood circulation.
Whenever possible, keep the injured muscle raised above the level of your heart.
Massage & Rehabilitation
We suggest that you see a Physio/Sports Therapist early on after the injury to have some soft tissue/massage therapy. It would also be beneficial at an early stage to be given a well planned out rehab programme to start regaining movement and strength in the affected muscle.
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