Pulled muscles – Diagnosis, management, and more Health

Pulled muscles – Diagnosis, management, and more

Muscle pull or strain can happen during a strenuous activity when the muscle is overstretched or torn. This strain occurs due to overuse or misuse of a particular muscle or even fatigue. While muscle pull can happen anywhere in the body, it usually occurs in areas like the lower back, hamstring, shoulder, or neck. Let’s look at the risks involved with this, diagnosis, and treatment options that one can try to help feel some relief.

Causes and symptoms
The cause can be anything from poor flexibility to slipping or losing your footing or balance. Other reasons include not warming up properly before the workout, poor conditioning, or even overexertion. If you are experiencing chronic muscle pull or strain, it is due to repetitive movements like baseball, tennis, golf, or rowing. Holding your neck in an awkward position for too long or having poor posture can also be responsible.

The symptoms, apart from the evident muscle pain, include:

  • Soreness
  • Limited range of movement
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness
  • Muscle spasms
  • “Knotted up” feeling
  • Bruising or discoloration

If the symptoms are mild to moderate, they can subside in a few days. However, you should see a doctor if the symptoms are too severe and some risks are involved. Some signs to notice include if you cannot walk properly for days, the pain has not subsided even after a week, you cannot move your arms or legs, the injured area is numb, and if there is blood from the injury.

The doctor will check for swelling and points of tenderness while diagnosing. Be sure to help them identify the right places where you can feel pain or numbness. Once they have identified the location of the pain, they will also check the intensity of it, which will help them determine the extent of the damage and its nature. If the muscle or the tendon has been ruptured, the doctor can feel the area of injury through touch. However, they may also ask for an ultrasound to check for other soft tissue injuries.

Treatment options 
Most of the treatments involve the procedure of doing some DIY management tips that help alleviate the pain caused in the muscles due to the pull or the tear. Here are the treatments to try:

The best way to recover is to rest. Even the most prominent athletes take a recovery day to help them return to their rigorous training. Avoid using the particular muscles where you can experience pain and rest it out for two to three days. After the rest period, reintroduce the muscle group to some light movement. Ensure you don’t overdo it but don’t wholly stop its movement after the rest period, as it may become stiff and weak. This may cause the healing process to be longer.

Ice pack
Apply ice to the muscle immediately after the injury. This ice pack therapy will help minimize muscle swelling and can be used as a treatment method for later. However, remember not to put ice directly on the skin. Wrap the ice cubes or ice gel pack in a towel and use that cloth to massage the affected area gently. You can apply the ice for 20 minutes and repeat this activity every hour on the first day of injury. The next day, you can continue to apply ice every couple of hours. Notice if you see any change in pain and swelling.

This is another effective procedure to reduce swelling. All you have to do is wrap the affected area with an elastic bandage, just tight enough not to allow the swelling to grow. Don’t wrap it too tight, which limits the blood flow to the region.

For the first one or two days, keep the injured muscle raised above the level of your heart. This may not always be possible, but you can attempt it whenever possible, like sitting with your feet up.