Muscle Pain & Injury
No matter how you describe it – “pulled muscle”, “muscle strain”, “muscle injury”, or “muscle tear” the result is an injury to your muscle resulting in muscle pain, muscle weakness and reduced muscle performance. I will discuss these common muscle strains and their general treatment shortly.
You should also be aware that not all muscle pain is injury-related and can be due to systemic conditions such as fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis. Please consult with your trusted healthcare practitioner for a thorough assessment and diagnosis of your muscle pain.
Symptoms of a Muscle Strain
- Muscle tightness
- Inability to fully stretch your injured muscle
- Loss of function
How to Care for Your Muscle Pain?
Any strain, injury or tear can cause muscle pain. The most common is the high speed and load muscles such as your hamstrings, thigh (quadriceps), calf, back and biceps.
Muscle tears can range from a mild strain (Grade 1), moderate strain (Grade 2) to a complete rupture (Grade 3). Treatment options vary depending on the severity of your muscle strain, tear or rupture.
Grade 1 muscle strains will usually respond well to conservative treatment, including protection and active rest, with a gradual introduction to flexibility, strength, power and speed exercise depending upon the functional needs of the injured muscle. Massage therapy and dry needling are other treatment options available.
Grade 2 muscle tears may require professional assistance from a sports physiotherapist or other healthcare practitioner with a special interest in muscle injuries. Grade two injuries are more likely to have scarring, inflexibility and reduce strength and performance. They are generally a higher risk of re-injury on your return to sport or work, so professionally guided rehabilitation is advised.
Grade 3 muscle rupture often require surgery. Please consult with a healthcare practitioner for more advice. Most muscle rupture repairs will require a very gradual and progressed rehabilitation program under the guidance of your surgeon and your physiotherapist.
The grading of your muscle strain directly affects your rehabilitation, so please seek a professional assessment.
What’s the Best Treatment for a Muscle Strain or Tear?
Until you’ve been accurately diagnosed, use the following guidelines:
- Ice and a compression bandage.
- Elevate the region if it is swollen.
- If it’s painful to walk, you should be using crutches.
- Reduce your training to a level where you feel no pain. That may include stopping all exercise.
- Seek the advice of your physiotherapist, massage therapist or trusted healthcare practitioner.
Return to Sports Post-Muscle Strain
Returning to a sport can be easy or complicated, depending on the muscle affected. Some muscle tears, such as hamstrings, are notoriously difficult to get right.
Ideally, you should undertake:
- an assessment of your muscle function, core stability and biomechanics to avoid injury recurrence.
- A remedial or sports style massage to ensure that any scar tissue doesn’t clump.
- A muscle rehabilitation program incorporates strength, endurance, flexibility, and speed specific to your chosen sport.
- A neural tissue dynamics assessment to ensure that no nerve tissue has become entrapped in the scar tissue.
- Application of a heat retainer to the area when you return to sport.
- Application ice therapy after any training sessions.
Muscle Pain Injuries
Myalgia, or muscle pain, can have many sources. Here are some of the more common sources of muscle pain. Would you please click the links for more information?