Muscle strain, muscle pull, or even a muscle tear refers to damage to a muscle or its attaching tendons. You can put undue pressure on muscles during the course of normal daily activities, with sudden heavy lifting, during sports, or while performing work tasks.
Muscle damage can be in the form of tearing (part or all) of the muscle fibers and the tendons attached to the muscle. The tearing of the muscle can also damage small blood vessels, causing local bleeding, or bruising, and pain caused by irritation of the nerve endings in the area.
Exams and Tests
The doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical exam. During the exam, it’s important to establish whether the muscle is partially or completely torn, which can involve a much longer healing process, possible surgery, and a more complicated recovery.
Muscle Strain Treatment Self-Care at Home
The amount of swelling or local bleeding into the muscle (from torn blood vessels) can best be managed early by applying ice packs and maintaining the strained muscle in a stretched position. Heat can be applied when the swelling has lessened. However, the early application of heat can increase swelling and pain.
Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as naproxen or ibuprofen to reduce pain and improve your ability to move around. Do not take NSAIDS if you have kidney disease or a history of gastrointestinal bleeding or if you are also taking a blood thinner such as Coumadin without first talking with your doctor. In that case, it is safer to take acetaminophen, which helps lessen pain but does not reduce inflammation.
Protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (known as the PRICE formula) can help the affected muscle. Here's how: First, remove all constrictive clothing, including jewelry, in the area of muscle strain.
Ice the muscle area (20 minutes every hour while awake). Ice is a very effective anti-inflammatory and pain-reliever. Small ice packs, such as packages of frozen vegetables or water frozen in foam coffee cups, applied to the area may help decrease inflammation.
Compression can be gently applied with an Ace or other elastic bandage, which can both provide support and decrease swelling. Do not wrap tightly.
Medical treatment is similar to the treatment at home. The doctor, however, also can determine the extent of muscle and tendon injury and if crutches or a brace is needed for healing. The doctor can also determine if you need to restrict your activity or take days off work and if rehabilitation exercises or physical therapy are required to help you recover.
Press Up to Stretch Your Spine
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) can shorten the spine and muscles in your back. Stretch with this move to help "rounded" back and back pain.
Lie on your stomach with your legs behind you. Slowly prop yourself up on your elbows, so your chest is off the ground. If you’re able, straighten your arms. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.
Wall Sit for Better Posture
Stand with your back against a wall. Put your feet shoulder-width apart, and away from the wall. Slowly slide your back down the wall. It may take time, but work towards being able to get to the point where your thighs are parallel with the floor -- like you're sitting in a chair. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Hold for longer as you get stronger.
Plank for a Stronger Core
To make sure you're strong enough for this exercise, start in a standing position with your feet flat on the floor and your forearms on the kitchen counter.
Once you can do that fairly easily, move on to the harder version. Your stomach, back, and butt muscles help your posture. Work them with this move -- no crunches needed! Kneel on a mat. Put your forearms on the ground. Push your legs out behind you and balance on your toes. Squeeze your stomach and butt muscles to hold your body in a straight line. Don't crane your head up or let it hang down. Keep your neck in line with your spine. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times. Add more time as you become stronger. Always keep your core tight. Do this 3 to 5 times a week.
Try Standing Leg Raises to Loosen Tight Hips
Hold the back of a chair or railing. Keep your back straight with a slight bend in your knees. Slowly lift one leg out to the side so it's a few inches off the ground. Then lower it back to the starting position.
Next, kick the same leg straight behind you to 45 degrees. Remember to keep good posture. Avoid bending over at the waist. Repeat 10 to 15 times on each leg.
Fitness means being able to perform physical activity. It also means having the energy and strength to feel as good as possible. Getting more fit, even a little bit, can improve your health.