Muscle Strains

Sprains & Tears

Jan 7, 2019


If you’re experiencing muscular pain, you’re very aware of how even the most mundane of tasks feel difficult. So in addition to the discomfort from the injury itself, you’re also feeling frustrated.

In hopes of helping you learn more about muscle strains and what you can do about it, below is an overview of symptoms, treatment, and how to prevent them from happening again.

What is a muscle strain?

While muscles do a wonderful job of allowing us to move, walk, run, and do just about every activity we enjoy doing, if you move too fast, lift an item that’s too heavy, use improper form while exercising or lifting, or overstretch, small fibers within the muscles will tear. The same thing can happen from overuse. This type of injury is called a muscle strain or a pulled muscle.

Muscle Strain Symptoms

If you’ve suffered from a minor muscle strain, you’ll feel mild discomfort and will be able to go about your day without any issue. However, if the strain is significant, you’ll notice immediately. As soon as the injury occurs, you’ll feel:

  • Sudden Pain
  • Swelling
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Weakness
  • Bruising
  • Limited range of motion

If the injury is minor, it’ll heal itself in a couple of weeks, at most. You can aid recovery by immobilizing the muscle with a splint. However, serious muscle tears require medical attention.

When to See a Doctor for a Muscle Strain

See a doctor immediately if you hear a pop at the time of injury, or if the injured body part feels numb, you’re bleeding, or if you can’t put your full body weight on an injured lower extremity. You should also seek medical attention if several days have gone by and your pain hasn’t subsided or if it’s getting worse.

Your doctor will ask a lot of questions about the activity that caused the injury and whether you’re experiencing additional symptoms, such as a fever, numbness, or issues with your bladder.

Muscle Strain Treatment

Most muscle strains can be treated with conservative home remedies, such as icing the injury for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Also, take a break from the activity that caused the injury in the first place for a couple of days, until the pain subsides. You can also take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to alleviate pain.

If the muscle is still feeling stiff a couple of days in, substitute icing for heat therapy. If you suffered from a serious injury, follow your doctor’s instructions on how to care for it.

Why do I pull muscles so easily?

There are several reasons why a person may be prone to muscle strains. The most common ones include not having a good posture, not hydrating enough, failing to warm-up before exercise, failing to stretch after exercise, or even not exercising enough.

How to Prevent Muscle Strains

1. Warm up. Once you feel like the muscle has healed, consult with a coach, personal trainer, or physical therapist about properly warming up for your activity of choice. Dynamic drills are also helpful before exercising.

2. Weight training. Strength training makes your muscles stronger, which (a) helps avoid future injury of the soft tissue, and (b) relieves some of the stress your body weight causes on your joints, so it also prevents joint injuries. If you’re not a fan of gyms or free weights, you can use exercise using your own body weight.

3. Use protective gear. If you were injured while playing contact sports, make it a priority to always wear protective gear.

4. Rest. Any time you do strenuous activity, you have to allow your body ample time to recover. Not doing so increases the likelihood of muscle fatigue, strained muscles, and stress fractures.

5. Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight places additional stress on both your muscles and joints, making both more prone to injury.

6. Use proper technique when lifting heavy objects. Sometimes, when you’re in a hurry, you may be tempted to just pick up whatever you need, without a thought to your form while doing so. Yet, failing to use proper technique is a surefire way to end up with a painful injury.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you’re suffering from a muscle strain, let us help you. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.