We all experience muscle pain from time to time, weekend warriors going out for that run or a bike ride, the new enthusiast at the local gym doing heavy squats, or getting neck strain just from hunching over your computer all day.
A muscle strain will then occur whenever you pull, twist or tear your tendons or muscle in an abnormal way. The tendon is similar to a strong elastic cord which connects your muscles directly to the bone.
As we begin to age, we also become more susceptible to various muscle pulls and strains, this due to stress. However, the biggest risk remains when you don’t bother to warm up properly before exercising by stretching a muscle beyond its limits, or extended training which your body can’t handle or are accustomed to. You can also get chronic muscle pulls if you fail to give the tendons adequate time to heal itself.
You’ll generally know when a muscle is pulled abnormally, typically within a day or two of the initial injury or sooner, as the area becomes stiff, sore, or swollen. You’ll also begin experiencing a loss of movement in the area or begin to get muscle spasms. There can also be associated bruising which develops around the injured muscle.
So if you do happen to suffer from a pulled muscle strain, there are ways on how to speed up the healing process while soothing the pain, discomfort and inflammation.
Immediately Applying Ice To The Area
Make sure that you ice a muscle pull or strain as soon as possible, or as soon as there’s ice available, which will instantly reduce the swelling and discomfort in the area.
The application of the ice can be administered by using an ice pack, or you can just wrap a few ice cubes in a towel or a plastic bag and then apply directly on the area frequently during the day. Make sure that you do so 15-minutes at a time.
Getting The Proper Rest And Relaxation
What giving adequate time resting the pulled muscle strain does is it will accelerate the recovery process of the injury, but this however depends on the seriousness of the strain itself. Most suggest that you should be resting the injured area with minimal activity for anywhere from 2 up to 5 days.
Applying Heat To The Area
Any type of muscle stiffness can be lessened once you administer heat directly to the affected area. What heating up the injured muscle strain does is it allows for gentle stretching, this so that you can gain back all of the mobility to the injured area a lot quicker.
It’s recommended that once following the heat process, gently stretch the injured muscle to help gain back mobility, strength, and flexibility. Building strength in the injured area before you begin exercising again will help prevent further injuries to the area in the future.
Soaking The Injured Area
What’s found to help is soaking the injured area in a nice warm bubbly bath, which also heats up the the strained muscle reducing the pain and swelling. Also try adding a couple cups of Epsom salt directly to your bathwater, and then soak the damage area for up to 20 minutes to ease the stiffness while promoting mobility and flexibility.
Try To Keep The Injured Area Elevated
What elevating the pulled muscle does is it helps in reducing inflammation to the damaged area. You can do so by keeping the injured area if at all possible above the level of your heart, by laying down and propping it up on a pillow.
What doing so does is it will encourage the body to send any fluid buildup away from the area that’s injured, promoting it to heal quicker and hurt less.
Get A Soothing Massage
Getting a massage on a pulled muscle will speed up the healing process, this because what doing so does is it stimulates blood circulation on the damaged area.
The gentle massaging action will also provide much needed heat while releasing tension that’s in the muscle which lessens the swelling. Just make sure that you have an experienced masseuse so that the injured area won’t be damaged any further.
Warming Up The Muscles
Completely warming up the muscle where it had a previous injury will ensure that the muscle becomes flexible, this to prevent any further damage to the same area in the future.
So before you begin any type of exercise especially if it’s strenuous, make sure that you warm up anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes prior, this to reduce any potential muscle strains while avoiding post exercise pain.
Strengthening The Muscle
All previously injured muscles will become prone to strains and pulls easier because they’re usually weaker than the other surrounding muscles. So it just makes sense to focus on healing the area completely.
Make it a point to strengthening the area to make it stronger than it was before you reengage in any physical activity, this so that you’re less likely to re-injure it again.
Taking Anti-Inflammatory Medication
Taking over the counter anti-inflammatory tablets will help in reducing the pain as well as the inflammation of a muscle strain injury. However, it’s important that you read the dosage instructions carefully and just take the recommended amount, this since taking too many of these types of medication will potentially damage the liver.
If the muscle pain persists or further swells beyond a few days of the injury, then it’s recommended that you see your doctor or health practitioner regarding stronger prescription based anti-inflammatory medication or professional treatment.