A pulled muscle can happen for a number of different reasons and frequently causes pain and suffering. Here is a general summary of what to do if you pull a muscle, including what to do right away for first aid and what to do next for rehabilitation. People can manage torn muscles and encourage healing by adhering to the suggested steps and getting the necessary medical care.
Understanding a Pulled Muscle
The straining or tearing of muscle fibers and encircling tissues is referred to as a pulled muscle, also known as a muscular strain or muscle tear. It happens when a muscle is subjected to extreme force, harming its fibers.
This might occur as a result of abrupt movements, excessive exertion, poor lifting techniques, repetitive motions, or a lack of adequate warm-up before physical activity. The muscles of the lower back, neck, shoulders, hamstrings, and groin are frequently affected by pulled muscles.
A pulled muscle can cause anything from minor discomfort to severe pain, stiffness, bruising, edema, and muscle weakness. The following are the three levels of muscle strain:
- Grade 1 (mild): Muscle injury that is not severe, with little loss of flexibility and strength.
- Grade 2 (moderate): Involves a partial tear of the muscle fibers, which results in increased discomfort, decreased strength, and restricted function.
- Grade 3 (severe): Denotes a full rupture or tear of the muscle, which causes excruciating pain, major swelling, a loss of significant strength, and restricted movement.
Effective management of a strained muscle and the promotion of recovery depends on a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
First Aid Measures
There are a number of first-aid procedures that can help reduce pain and expedite the healing process when dealing with a torn muscle. Here are a few suggestions:
- Stop the action: To avoid further injury, stop the activity that caused the muscle tension right away.
- Rest the injured area: Don’t overwork the injured muscle; instead, give it time to recover. This facilitates recovery and prevents further harm.
- Apply ice: During the first 24 to 48 hours, apply an ice pack or a cold compress to the damaged area for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours. Inflammation, edema, and discomfort are all decreased as a result. To prevent the skin from being exposed directly to the cold, remember to cover the ice pack in a thin fabric.
- Compression: To offer support and minimize edema, use a compression bandage or wrap. Ensure that the compression is tight but not so tight as to prevent blood flow.
- Elevate the injured area: If feasible, elevate the damaged limb or body part above the level of the heart to aid in the reduction of swelling.
Allowing the injured muscle to heal and gradually regain its strength and flexibility constitutes the recovery phase for a strained muscle. Here are some essential actions to help in the healing process:
- Rest and restrict activity: It’s important to give the pulled muscle enough time to recuperate and rest. Avoid doing anything that could put tension on the affected muscle or cause more harm.
- Heat therapy: After the first 48 to 72 hours of cold therapy, you might want to think about heating the affected area. Heat improves healing by relaxing the muscles and assisting with blood circulation. For around 15 to 20 minutes at a period, you can use a heating pad, a heated towel, or even a warm bath.
- Massage: Using a hot compress massage gun as an adjuvant therapy is another option. An electrically driven tool called a “massage gun” uses high-frequency vibrations to apply deep tissue massage and aid in muscle relaxation, pain relief, and healing.
- Mild stretching and exercises: Once the pain and swelling subside, gradually add mild stretching and exercises that are particularly designed to target the affected muscle.
- Assistance with physical therapy: Getting expert help with physical therapy can be quite helpful in more serious cases or if you are unsure of the right exercises.
- Follow a progressive return to activity protocol: Reintroduce regular activities or sports as the muscle strengthens and recovers. Start with low-impact, low-intensity exercises and progressively build up to more strenuous ones with longer durations.
You should speak with a healthcare expert for further assessment and advice if you ever feel increasing discomfort, edema, or restricted movement while you are in the healing phase.