Muscle Strain

Muscle Strain

Article by John Miller

Muscle Strain

Muscle Tear – Pulled Muscle

muscle strain

What is Muscle Strain?

Commonly, your muscle strain will occur at high speed when your muscles are overloaded. The most common high-speed muscle injuries occur in your hamstrings (hamstring strain), quadriceps (thigh strain), calf (calf muscle tear), back (back muscle pain), groin strain. But any muscle in your body is susceptible to a muscle strain or tear.

You can also suffer a fatigue-related muscle strain from sustained postures. Back muscle strain, shoulder and neck muscle strains are often postural fatigue-related muscle strains. Text neck has become a common condition due to postural fatigue while overusing your phone.

Another common source of muscle pain can be related to excessive muscle microtrauma from an overdose of exercise. This condition is known as DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness. Other overuse injuries, such as RSI (repetitive strain injury), results from a combination of postural fatigue and overuse of the smaller upper limb muscles. Luckily, early assessment and prevention strategies have virtually eliminated RSI from offices in the western world.

What are the Characteristics of a Muscle Strain?

Muscle strains have the following symptoms:

  • Muscle tightness
  • Bruising
  • Weakness
  • Inability to fully stretch your injured muscle

The most severe muscle strain has more significant symptoms.

Muscle strains range from a mild muscle strain (grade one), moderate muscle strain (grade two) to a severe muscle strain or complete muscle rupture (grade three).

For specific advice on the severity of your muscle strain, please seek professional assessment and advice from a health professional with a particular interest in muscle injuries, such as your physiotherapist or doctor.

Muscle Strain Treatment

Muscle strain treatment will vary depending upon an accurate diagnosis from your health professional. The severity of your muscle strain and what function or loads your injured muscle will need to cope with will impact the length of your healing and rehabilitation process.

Until your professional assessment, use the following guidelines:

  • Apply ice and a compression bandage.
  • Elevate the injured region if swollen.
  • If it’s painful to walk, you should be using crutches.
  • Cease or reduce your exercise or activity level to where you feel no pain.

Muscle strain can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to rehabilitate successfully. Please seek the advice of your physiotherapist, doctor or your health care practitioner who specialises in muscle injuries, e.g. massage therapist, to guide your treatment.

How to Return to Sport/Work after a Muscle Strain

Returning to a sport or work can be easy or complicated depending on the muscle affected and your sport or work demands. Some muscle tears such as hamstring, thigh, groin and calf tears are notorious at re-tearing once you resume competition. Please seek the professional advice of your sports physiotherapist.

If your work involves lifting or fatigue postures, your healthcare professional will be able to assess you. Then, they will advise you when you are at a lower risk to return to work or provide you with the appropriate exercise program to build your strength and ability to cope with your work duties.

Ideally, you should undertake:

  • Physiotherapy assessment of your muscle injury to minimise your injury recurrence risk.
  • A remedial or sports style massage to mould your scar tissue formation.
  • A muscle rehabilitation program that 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.

If you suffer a muscle strain that fails to respond after a few days or continues to niggle, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your physiotherapist.

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?

Neck & Back Muscle Injuries

Lower Limb Muscle Injuries

Upper Limb Muscle Injuries

Haematoma-Related Myalgia

Fatigue-Related Myalgia

Systemic Causes of Myalgia

More Information: Myalgia

Article by John Miller

Muscle Strain Treatment

Muscle strain treatment will vary depending upon an accurate diagnosis from your health professional. The severity of your muscle strain, and what function or loads your injured muscle will need to cope with, will impact the length of your healing and rehabilitation process.

Until you’ve been accurately diagnosed with a muscle strain, use the following guidelines:

  • Ice and a compression bandage.
  • Elevate the injured region if it is swollen.
  • If it’s painful to walk you should be using crutches.
  • Cease or reduce your exercise or activity level to where you feel no pain.

Muscle strain can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to rehabilitate successfully. Please seek the advice of your physiotherapist, doctor or your health care practitioner who specialises in muscle injuries eg massage therapist, to guide your treatment.

Common Treatments for Muscle Strain

The following options are available to your physiotherapist to assist the rehabilitation of your muscle strain. Please seek their professional advice prior to self-managing your injury to avoid aggravating your muscle strain. These are general guidelines only and should not be treated as individual treatment advice.

Acute Muscle Strain Treatment

Subacute Muscle Strain Treatment

Later Stage Muscle Strain Treatment Options

Other Factors to Consider

General Information

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