What is a muscle strain?
A muscle can strain or tear when the load imparted on the muscle is greater than the muscle can withstand. The most common muscle strains occur at high speed when your muscles are overloaded.
The most common muscle strains are:
However, 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.
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).
Muscle strain treatment options vary depending on the severity of your muscle strain or tear.
What are the symptoms of a muscle strain?
Muscle strains have the following symptoms:
- Sudden onset of Muscle Pain
- Muscle tightness
- Inability to fully stretch your injured muscle
- Pain with contraction (use) of the muscle
The more severe the muscle strain obviously the more significant symptoms.
What should I do after a muscle strain?
Rest - Take it easy and only move within your limit of pain.
Ice - As soon as possible, and for 20 minutes every two hours, apply ice or a frozen gel pack wrapped in a damp towel. This helps to control bleeding and pain and reduces secondary tissue damage.
Compression - Firmly bandage the injury. This helps to control swelling.
Elevation - As much as possible, elevate your injury higher than the level of your heart to reduce swelling.
An important first step in your rehabilitation from muscle strains
Recovery can start very early after an injury. Leading Edge rehabilitation techniques will help reduce the time that your muscle strain is painful and movement is restricted so that you can get back to work and sport more quickly. Rehabilitation also facilitates a good quality muscle repair and the return of normal muscle and nerve function.
Avoid any of the HARM factors in the first 48 hours to prevent increased swelling and help your recovery:
What should I do next?
Returning to sport can be easy or complicated depending on the muscle affected. Some muscle tears such as hamstrings are notoriously difficult to get right.
By making an appointment with a Leading Edge Physiotherapist, you will receive:
- 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 rehabilitation program that incorporates components of strength, endurance, flexibility and speed that is specific to your chosen sport.
- a neural tissue dynamics assessment to ensure that no nerve tissue has become entrapped in the scar tissue or contributed to the injury
What do I do right now?
If you have just strained your muscle, then the first thing to do is the follow the Rice and No Harm principles listed above.