A strain is when a muscle becomes overstretched and tears. This painful injury, also called a “pulled muscle,” can be caused by an accident, improper use of a muscle, or overuse of a muscle.
- Excessive physical activity or effort
- Improperly warming up before a physical activity
- Poor flexibility
- Pain and difficulty moving the injured muscle
- Discolored and bruised skin
- Apply ice immediately to reduce swelling. Wrap the ice in cloth - avoid using ice directly on the skin. Apply ice for 10 to 15 minutes every 1 hour for the first day. Then, every 3 to 4 hours.
- Use ice for the first 3 days. After that, either heat or ice may be helpful.
- Rest the pulled muscle for at least a day. If possible, keep the pulled muscle elevated above the level of the heart.
- Avoid using a strained muscle while it is still painful. When the pain subsides, start activity slowly and in moderation.
Call immediately for emergency medical assistance if
- You are unable to move the muscle.
- The injury is bleeding.
Call your doctor if the pain does not go away after several weeks.
- Warm-up properly before exercise and sports.
- Keep your muscles strong and flexible.
by Simon D. Mitin, M.D.