Most people are aware of how critical exercise can be for your fitness and health. In saying that, there may come a time when your body says, wow, that was a bit too hard. You may just end up with a strained or pulled muscle as a result. So, what can you do about those pulled and strained muscles so that you can be back in action as soon as possible?
How Do You Pull or Strain a Muscle?
Before we help you take care of your pulled or strained muscle, it’s essential to get to know how they come about in the first place. Extensive pressure, sudden pressure, or overstretching are the most common causes. They can happen during a regular workout or during everyday tasks such as lifting something heavy or moving in a way you don’t usually.
A strained muscle can be quite painful, but it’s also something you can take care of at home. If, however, you feel extreme pain that doesn’t subside, a trip to your doctor may be in order.
How to Know You’ve Pulled a Muscle
When you pull a muscle during exercise, you will most likely know about it. A spasming feeling often follows immediate pain. You may also notice redness, bruising, swelling, weakness, and limited flexibility. The discomfort may also continue long after that muscle or muscles are at rest.
Pain from a strained muscle usually dissipates after a day. However, ongoing discomfort may mean you’ve got a sprain or tear, rather than a strain.
The R.I.C.E Method
Pulling a muscle can be painful, but the R.I.C.E method can alleviate that pain before long. R.I.C.E means rest, ice, compress, elevate. Ice the area in ten-minute intervals, and compress the muscle with a wrap such as an ace bandage.
Other Tips for Treating a Strained or Pulled Muscle
Alongside the R.I.C.E method for treatment, you can also make sure you keep your affected muscle in a stretched position. Once the swelling has subsided, apply heat to relax the muscle.
Continue using a wrap to prevent further injury, and take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory if your doctor suggests that’s a good idea.
How Long Does a Strained or Pulled Muscle Take to Heal?
Fortunately, a strained muscle heals relatively quickly. Pain should subside within 24 hours. However, it’s essential to rest that specific muscle for around three days to prevent further damage. If the pain doesn’t improve, seek medical help.
How to Prevent Strained Muscles
If it seems like exercise and working on your fitness always leads to strained muscles, then it may be time to change up how you work out. Always practice good form before you do something out of the ordinary with your muscles (such as lifting heavy boxes) and exercising.
Do a proper warm-up before exercise, and listen to your body. If your muscles feel tired, take a break. During heavy lifting, engage your core and keep your back straight as you use the power in your legs to make the lift.
Strained muscles are uncomfortable, but they can be both easy to treat and avoid in the first place. Follow the R.I.C.E method and remember to warm up before exercising. Seek advice from your GP if the pain doesn’t subside.