Avoid the HARM Factors

Avoid the HARM Factors

Article by J. MillerS.Armfield

Avoid HARM Post-Injury

You will help your chances of a full recovery if you avoid the H.A.R.M. factors in the first 48 to 72 hours.

What are the HARM Factors?

Heat: Increases swelling and bleeding. Avoid heat packs, hot baths and saunas.

Alcohol: Increases swelling and bleeding. Plus, it can delay healing.

Running or Exercise: Aggravates the injury, which increases pain, swelling and bleeding. Always check with a health professional before resume sport or exercise.

Massage: Increases swelling and bleeding. Direct massage to the injured area may aggravate the damaged tissues and is normally best avoided for the first 48 to 72 hours. Indirect massage (away from the injury site) may be helpful. Please consult your health practitioner for the best advice for your injury.

What Are Common Muscle 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

Common Muscle Injury FAQs

What are the 4 Types of Muscle Injuries?

How Long Does It Take For A Muscle Injury To Heal?

What Helps Muscle Strains Heal Faster?

How Can I Speed Up Muscle Recovery?

What is a Trigger Point In A Muscle?

Article by John Miller

How Long Does It Take For A Muscle Injury To Heal?

The recovery time for a muscle injury depends on the severity of the damage. For a mild strain, you may be able to return to normal activities within a few days or a week. For more severe strains, recovery can take several weeks and even months. In nasty cases, surgical repair and post-operative physiotherapy may be necessary.

With professional assessment and the treatment guidance of your physiotherapist, most muscle injuries recover entirely.

To avoid re-injury, please ensure that you have adequately rehabilitated your body for a return to sport or work. Follow your physiotherapist’s specific instructions. Don’t engage in high-risk physical activity until your muscles have healed and strengthened appropriately.

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


Massage Techniques

Article by John Miller

What Are The Muscle Injury Types?

We categorise your muscles into three main types: skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscles

  • Skeletal muscle is the most common muscle tissue type in the body. Plus, it is prone to injury. Skeletal muscles facilitate your body's movement and strength. The 4 types of skeletal muscle injuries include:
    • Muscle Strain/Soreness
    • Muscle Tear/Rupture
    • Muscle Contusion (Haematoma)
    • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Cardiac muscle forms your heart muscle walls.
  • Smooth muscle tissue is in the walls of hollow organs like the bladder, passageways like the airway and gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Muscle Strain/Soreness

Muscle strains result in small or microscopic muscle fibre tears. We commonly refer to a muscle strain as a "pulled" muscle. This injury occurs when the muscle is mildly overstretched, or overused. Common muscle strain injuries include the hamstring, shoulder, neck and lower back.

Muscle strains result in muscle soreness, stiffness, weakness, swelling and spasms. They usually heal over a few days. Ice, anti-inflammatory medications, massage and gentle stretching may help the muscle injury heal faster.

Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is post-exercise-related muscle pain. DOMS develops after excessive and unaccustomed exercise. It is particularly prevalent if that exercise has an eccentric component. DOMS is myofibril tears (muscle strains). The microtrauma results in an inflammatory response with intramuscular fluid and electrolyte shifts.

We do know that biochemical markers (such as creatine kinase and lactic dehydrogenase) are in the blood of DOMS sufferers, which is consistent with muscle fibre disruption.

Swelling, altered muscle firing patterns and pain are the reasons why muscle strength, motions and function is impaired in DOMS sufferers.

Muscle Tear / Rupture

While a muscle strain refers to a microscopic injury to muscle fibres, a muscle tear is a more significant macroscopic injury. We can normally visualise the damaged fibres on an ultrasound scan or MRI. Much like muscle strains, the most common muscle tears occur in the lower back, neck, shoulder, and hamstring. It typically takes a substantial amount of force to cause this type of injury. Muscle fibres and the blood vessels that supply it tear.

Muscle tears usually cause a sudden onset of severe muscle pain, as well as bruising, weakness and swelling. Muscle tear sufferers should seek urgent medical attention to confirm the diagnosis and undertake a physiotherapist-guided rehabilitation to return to sport or work quicker, plus reduce the likelihood of reinjury. Patients with a torn muscle also often require follow-up care and rehabilitation with physical therapy.

The most severe extreme of a muscle tear is a complete rupture. Complete muscle rupture usually requires surgical repair and post-operative physiotherapy to optimise your return to function.

Muscle Contusion (Haematoma)

Muscle contusion may also be referred to as a muscle "haematoma". This injury occurs when a blunt object strikes the body and crushes underlying muscle tissue but does not break the skin. Common examples include being hit with a ball or being accidentally kneed e.g. "corked thigh". Contusions are typically painful, swollen, weak and result in a reduced range of motion, as a protection mechanism. Visible bruising is from damaged blood vessels that pools underneath the skin's surface.

While most mild contusion injuries often heal with ice, rest and time, more severe injuries sometimes require surgical intervention to address excessive pressure accumulated from internal swelling and bleeding.


Rhabdomyolysis is a severe condition when muscle fibres die and their contents release into your bloodstream. Your kidneys normally filter out these muscle byproducts. However, in rhabdomyolysis kidney failure can result and be fatal. Urgent medical attention is required.

Muscle pain, weakness and dark urine are the common symptoms of rhabdomyolysis.

Causes of rhabdomyolysis may be traumatic or non-traumatic. Examples of traumatic rhabdomyolysis include car accidents, crush injuries or lying unconscious on a hard surface for an extended period. Causes of non-traumatic muscle injury include heatstroke, infections, intense exercise, seizures, and the use of certain recreational drugs like cocaine and amphetamines.

If you have any of the symptoms please seek urgent medical assessment.

Article by John Miller

Muscle Strain Treatment

Muscle strain treatment will vary depending on your health professional's accurate diagnosis. 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 swells.
  • 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 a few days to several weeks to rehabilitate successfully. Please seek the advice of your physiotherapist, doctor, or health care practitioner who specialises in muscle injuries, e.g. massage therapist, to guide your treatment.

Common Treatments for Muscle Strain

Many treatment options are available to your physiotherapist to assist the rehabilitation of your muscle strain. Please seek their professional advice.

Acute Muscle Strain Treatment

Subacute Muscle Strain Treatment

Later Stage Muscle Strain Treatment Options

Other Factors to Consider

General Information


Massage Techniques

What Causes Post-Exercise Muscular Pain?

What Causes Muscular Pain?

You know the feeling… dreaded “stiff and sore muscles” a day or two after you’ve done a little more exercise than usual.

Shortly after exercise begins, a mix of lactic and carbonic acids builds up in muscle tissue. These acids are waste products of muscle contractions. Don’t worry. These acids are normal. To produce “energy”, muscles burn stored glycogen. Lactic and carbonic acids are by-products of this metabolic process.

The good news is that most of these acids convert back into glycogen and are restored in preparation for your next bout of exercise. Pain and muscle fatigue can exist until the acid levels in your muscles return to normal.

How Does Massage Help?

Massage helps to eliminate the irritation caused by these acidic wastes. Research shows that massage can increase muscle recovery much quicker than rest alone.

Why is Massage So Useful When You Exercise?

Regular exercise causes many body changes. One improvement is the increase in blood vessels to the muscles to meet the demand for more oxygen and nutrients. This circulation increase helps to eliminate the waste products and toxins that build up with exercise. Importantly, it can take several weeks to develop improved muscular circulation.

Until the blood supply increases, you will have trouble with oxygen and nutrients supply. This allows toxic wastes to back up and stagnate. You will experience soreness, pain and stiffness. Many exercise enthusiasts regard aches and pains as the inevitable price to be paid. This is usually not true.

What about Muscle & Joint Stiffness?

Massage eases muscle and joint stiffness. Using massage strokes to reduce muscle tension and passive movement to stretch the connective tissue found around joints massage will improve your performance. Massage also lengthens muscle and tendon units to help prevent injuries from occurring in the first place.

What about Soft Tissue Injuries and Massages?

Massage aids recovery from soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains. Tissue repair accelerates by increasing circulation in the injured area. Massage therapy can help speed, improve recovery, and reduce discomfort from soft tissue injuries.

Massage is Drug-Free Treatment

Massage is a drugless therapy. Headaches, insomnia, neck and back pain, digestive disorders including constipation and spastic colon, arthritis, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome and muscular aches and pains are just some of the problems that can respond to massage therapy.

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