Muscle Strain - When You are more than Simply Sore
As the warmer weather emerges, people tend to start taking up physical activity to look fit in summer, whether they choose going to the gym or just running at the park. Some of these people are responsible – they start slowly, do all of their warm-ups and stretching – and others not so much. Whether you are a stickler for the rules or not, muscle injuries can happen, and you need to be prepared for them when they come so you can figure out if a trauma you get is serious or just a minor one.
A muscle strain is a relatively serious muscle injury in which the muscle is pulled or torn. It can be a result of many situations, but it is more often than not associated with overuse (training too much, too often, too long, or too intense) and improper use of the muscle such as when you do an exercise without an adequate warm-up.
Symptoms of a muscle strain include sudden pain and spasms, a feeling of soreness and weakness and even more obvious signs like swelling, bruising or discoloration. The strain may also make your muscle stiff and cause limited range of motion, but you should be able to work through it if the strain is mild.
Most muscle strains are minor or mild, and they will heal easily and successfully at home in a few days or a week if you let the affected area rest and avoid using it as much as possible.
In most minor cases, a cold compress and tight bandage are the complementary treatment options which should help the muscle heal itself fairly quickly. Anti-inflammatory and pain medication can also be helpful in reducing swelling and pain.
There is a balance to be found when healing a pulled muscle at home, as resting it for too long can cause atrophy. You should start using your muscle a couple of days after your injury or when the pain and swelling start going down.
If you can’t move the area at all or the pain and swelling don’t start decreasing in a couple of days you should see a doctor about your condition, as you may be dealing with a severe strain or a different type of injury.
As for preventing muscle strain, you should be careful when lifting objects, particularly heavy ones, and wear shoes that fit well in order to protect your legs and feet.
When you exercise, you should take care to warm up your body before starting the main workout. Using a proper technique when performing an exercise is also essential for avoiding any injury, including muscle strain.