Muscle Strain and pulls are frequent injuries that can occur during sports and other physical activities. When a muscle is strained, it has been stretched to the point of rupture, which can be extremely excruciating. If you participate in a sport that requires rapid sprinting and kicking, you may be more likely to experience muscle strain.
Track and field, rugby, American and Australian football, and soccer have the highest incidence of muscle complaints. In addition, it is not uncommon for people to re-injure a strained muscle, so it is essential to recover and treat the injury before returning to your sport or preferred physical activity.
What Causes Muscle Strain?
Muscle strains can occur if you do not properly prepare for physical activity by extending and warming up if you are involved in an accident or overexerting yourself. Before engaging in any form of physical activity, allowing ample time to warm up and extend your muscles is essential.
Additionally, a few factors can increase the likelihood that you will strain your muscles again:
- Not addressing the initial injury adequately
- Not strengthening the musculature
- Too rapid return to physical activity
Manifestations of Muscle Strains
Pain is the primary symptom of muscle tension. Your pain may be at its worst immediately following an injury but may persist briefly. You might also encounter:
- Sudden, severe agony
- Inability to move your injured muscle
- Inability to rotate a joint normally
- Extreme limb impairment due to the injury
- Discoloration or injury
Remedy for Muscle Strain
After straining a muscle, it is crucial to manage the pain and swelling immediately:
- Wrap ice in a cloth and apply it to the affected area for 15 minutes every hour for the first day and then every three to four hours for the subsequent days. If possible, raise the stressed limb above the heart. After three days, heat and cold can be alternated.
- It is possible that over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medications, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen), can alleviate your discomfort and swelling.
- After the pain has subsided, commence light stretching and physical activity.
When to Seek Medical Attention
It is essential to give close attention to how you feel after a muscle strain. Consult your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Significant edema close to the strained muscle, especially if the edema is getting worse.
- difficulty moving the limbs, legs, or joints
- Pain that persists for some weeks
- If your pain is severe, your healthcare provider may be able to prescribe you additional anti-inflammatory and anti-pain medications. They may also recommend physical therapy to restore your range of motion and strength.
Preventing Muscle Strain
Muscle strains may arise due to inadequate warm-up or stretching before physical activity. It is recommended to engage in pre-activity preparations to ensure that your muscles are adequately prepared before commencing physical exercise.
Before engaging in physical activity, it is recommended to ensure that you:
- The recommended approach is to initiate movement slowly and gradually increase speed until the full range of motion is reached. Engaging in a five-minute walking activity before commencing a jogging routine is recommended.
- It is recommended to perform stretches after completing a warm-up routine. Stretching your muscles when they are not yet warmed up is not advisable. Maintaining stretches for 15 to 30 seconds per stretch is recommended. It is important to avoid bouncing while performing stretches.
- Performing movements like those during warm-up is recommended to effectively cool down your body after a workout. This process facilitates the restoration of the body’s standard temperature and heart rate.
Furthermore, certain studies propose that strains may arise due to muscular imbalances, wherein some muscles are comparatively stronger than others. For instance, if your quadriceps are stronger than your hamstrings, it can lead to strains. It is recommended to perform exercises that specifically target various muscle groups to promote balanced strength development throughout the body.
Recent studies indicate that fatigue may contribute to the development of muscle strain. It is recommended to heed your body’s signals during exercise and reduce or halt the activity if signs of fatigue arise.
Muscle strains are a prevalent type of injury among athletes and non-athletes. Before engaging in any physical activity, it is crucial to perform stretching and warm-up exercises to prevent injuries. Mild muscle strains can typically be managed at home through ice, rest, heat, and anti-inflammatory medications. However, it is recommended that individuals seek medical attention from a healthcare provider for more severe cases.