A muscle strain is an injury to a muscle or a tendon — the fibrous tissue that connects muscles to bones. Minor injuries may only overstretch a muscle or tendon, while more severe injuries may involve partial or complete tears in these tissues. Initial treatment includes rest, ice, compression and elevation. Mild strains can be successfully treated at home, but severe strains sometimes require surgical repair. APPOTEK can help you with muscle strain.
Muscles are adapted to cope with a certain amount of work and if overloaded, the tendons and muscle fibers can be torn apart. Muscles can be put under undue pressure during the course of normal daily activities – sports, sudden heavy lifting, or while performing work tasks. If you are not a trained athlete and push too hard at sports, you risk overloading a muscle. Lifting too heavily without warming up, or repetitive actions over a period of time such as boxing, also increase the risk of muscle strain.Though the limit for this depends on the individual, the risk is always higher if you have not warmed the muscles up before exertion.
The difference between a strain and a sprain is that a strain involves an injury to a muscle or to the band of tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone, while a sprain injures the bands of tissue that connect two bones together.
Muscle strains can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- sudden onset of pain
- difficulty moving the muscle
- bruising or skin discoloration
- a “knotted-up” feeling
- muscle spasms and cramps
When a muscle tears, a sharp local pain and a varying degree of dysfunction are noted. At the rupture site, palpation can detect a muscle defect that increases with its contraction. With a complete break of one end of the muscle or its separation from the bone, the muscle contracts towards the other attachment site and swells in the form of a dense roller, defined visually or by palpation.
Strains commonly occur in the lower back and in the muscles at the back of the thigh (hamstrings).
Prevention and protection
Regular exercise can keep your muscles healthy and strong, but proper techniques are also crucial in preventing muscle strains and rupture. Always stretch and warm up before engaging in physical activity.
Similarly, take the time to stretch after each workout to prevent muscle stiffness. If you’re new to exercising, start slowly. Build up your activity a little at a time.
It’s vital that you understand your body’s limitations. If something doesn’t feel right during an activity, stop immediately.
Most muscle strain and sprains heal at home, without medical intervention. Here are ways you can treat an inquiry yourself:
- Protect the strained muscle from further injury.
- Rest the strained muscle
- Ice the muscle area (20 minutes every hour while awake).
- Compression can be gently applied with an Ace or other elastic bandage, which can both provide support and decrease swelling.
However if you have a serious loss of muscle movement, cannot put any weight on your joint or think the injured area appears deformed, have severe pain or the area is warm and swollen, you should consult a doctor.
During a physical examination, your doctor will check for swelling and points of tenderness. The location and intensity of your pain can help determine the extent and nature of the damage.
In more severe injuries, where the muscle or tendon has been completely ruptured, your doctor may be able to see or feel a defect in the area of injury. Ultrasound often can help distinguish among several different types of soft tissue injuries.
In the case of muscle rupture, the recommendation is to put a band around the area as soon as possible, preferably with a cooling bag, to reduce the swelling and bleeding. Make sure not to strain the area but allow it to rest as much as possible to speed up healing. There are non-prescription painkillers that can ease the pain.
When to consult a doctor
A small muscle defect usually heals by itself without you having to contact a doctor. However, if you feel that you cannot touch the affected part of the body or if you get a high fever in connection with the pain, it is advisable to seek medical help. The same applies if the pain has not subsided after a couple of days.
How APPOTEK can help
You can contact us at APPOTEK for help with muscle rupture. A nurse or a physician will make an individual assessment based on your symptoms. You may then be prescribed treatment or referred to a specialist.