Muscle strain: symptoms, treatment and recovery time (2023)

  • What is it
    • What is a muscle strain?
  • Causes
    • What are the causes and risk factors for muscle strain?
  • symptoms/signs
    • What are the symptoms and signs of a pulled muscle?
    • When should someone seek medical attention for a pulled muscle?
  • Specialist Doctors
    • Which specialists treat muscle strains?
  • Treatment
    • How do doctors diagnose a muscle strain?
    • What are the treatments for muscle strains?
  • recovery time
    • What are the grades and recovery times for muscle strains?
  • home remedies
    • What are home remedies for muscle strains?
  • Prevention
    • How can someone prevent a pulled muscle?
  • Prognosis
    • What is the prognosis for a muscle strain?

What is a muscle strain?

Muscle strain: symptoms, treatment and recovery time (1)

Muscle strain is an injury to the muscle as a result of strenuous activity

Muscle strain is an injury to the muscle as a result of strenuous activity. Almost anyone can put undue strain on muscles during normal daily activities, such as lifting weights quickly and suddenly, during sports, or while performing work tasks.

Muscle strain is sometimes called muscle strain. Severe muscle strain can result in muscle tear. Muscle rupture can also damage small blood vessels, causingbleeding(with or without bruising) and pain (caused by irritation of the nerve endings in the area).

It is noteworthy that a sprain, in contrast to a strain, is an injury to ligaments and/or joints that causes pain and swelling, but not dislocation.

What are the causes and risk factors for muscle strain?

MuscleDeformationit can happen to anyone. They occur in the course of normal daytime activities or as a result of suddenly using a working muscle. Activities that may increase your risk of muscle strain include:

  • athletic activity in sports with sudden acceleration or deceleration,
  • playing,
  • fast and/or heavy lifting,
  • suddencough, or
  • muscle injury while performing irregular work tasks.

You can strain any muscle that moves bones. Commonly strained muscles include:

  • lumbar muscles,
  • hamstring muscles of the back of the thigh,
  • abdominal muscles,
  • bicep muscles,
  • tricep muscles,
  • adductor muscles,
  • quadricepsthigh muscles,
  • triceps muscles, calf muscles,
  • upper back muscles, including trapezius and rhomboid muscles,
  • neck muscles and
  • the intercostal muscles and the oblique muscles of the thorax.

What areSymptomsand signs of muscle strain?

Symptoms of a pulled muscle can include:

  • Swelling, bruising or redness, or open cuts as a result of the injury
  • Pain in the affected muscle at rest
  • Pain when the specific muscle or joint in relation to that muscle is used
  • A feeling of weakness in the associated muscles or tendons (a sprain, on the other hand, is an injury to a joint and its ligaments).
  • Inability to use the affected muscle

Ultimately, symptoms depend on the muscle affected and the severity of the injury. Here is a list of various muscles with corresponding location and other corresponding symptoms:

  • Intercostal muscle: pain between the ribs; pain when throwing or chopping movements
  • Abdominal muscle: pain when sitting or "crunch" movement of the belly
  • Calf muscle: pain in the back of the leg withgoingorrunning; missing
  • Lumbar back muscle: pain when bending over and returning to standing position
  • Rhomboid muscle: pain when rowing
  • Neck muscle: pain with movement of the head towards the strained muscle or twisting of the neck
  • Trapezius muscle: pain when pulling down from an overhead position
  • Adductor muscle: pain when squeezing the knees
  • Quadriceps muscle: pain when extending the knee from a flexed position
  • Hip flexor muscles: pain when flexing the thigh into the body at the hip
  • Gluteus muscle: pain when walking or climbing hills or stairs
  • hamstring muscle: pain when accelerating while running
  • Biceps muscle: pain when curling (lifting) against resistance at the elbow

When should someone seek medical attention for a pulled muscle?

If someone has a significant muscle injury (or if home care methods don't bring relief within 24 hours), call a doctor.

If someone hears a "popping" sound with the injury, is unable to walk, or has significant swelling, pain,fever, or open cuts, he or she should be seen in a hospital emergency room.

Which specialists treat muscle strains?

MuscleDeformationare commonly treated by primary care providers, including family medicine physicians, internists, and general practitioners.

Other physicians who may be involved in the care of patients with muscle strains include emergency physicians, physiatrists, orthopedists, sports physicians, and rheumatologists.

Ancillary caregivers who may be involved in the care of muscle strain injuries include physical therapists, massage therapists, and chiropractors.

How do doctors diagnose a muscle strain?

The doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical exam. Examination is usually all that is needed for the diagnosis and can help establish whether the muscle is partially or completely torn. A higher grade or grade of strain (grades 1-3) may involve longer scarring, possible surgery and a more complicated recovery.

X-rays or laboratory tests are often not necessary unless there is a history oftraumaor evidence of infection. Rarely, the doctor may order a CT scan orMRIto better evaluate the diagnosis of the lesion.

What are the notes andrecovery timesfor muscle strains?

Grade I muscle strain: This is minor muscle strain, affecting only a minute percentage of the muscle fibers in the affected muscle. Full recovery is expected within weeks.

Grade II muscle strain: This is a partial tear of a significant percentage of the muscle fibers in the affected muscle. Full recovery can occur, but it can take months and require rehabilitation.

Grade III muscle strain: This is a complete tear or rupture of the affected muscle. This may require surgical repair and sometimes recovery is incomplete even after many months of substantial rehabilitation.

What are home remedies for muscle strains?

Muscle strain usually involves varying degrees of damage to small blood vessels. The effects of local swelling or bleeding in the muscle can be best controlled early on by applying ice packs to close blood vessels and keeping the tense muscle in a relaxed, stretched position. Heat can be applied to further relax the muscle once the swelling has subsided (usually about 12 to 24 hours after the initial strain). However, early application of heat can increase swelling and pain.

Observation:Ice or heat should not be applied to bare skin. Always use a protective covering, such as a towel, between the ice or heat and the skin.

  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) such asaspirin(shock absorber,Ecotrina) eibuprofen(Advil) to reduce pain and improve ability to move. However, do not use aspirin in children with muscle strains.
  • Protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation (known as the PRICE formula) can help the affected muscle. Here's how: First, remove all constricting clothing, including jewelry, from the area of ​​muscle tension.
    • Protect strained muscle from further injury.
    • Rest the tense muscle. Avoid the activities that caused the strain and any activities that are painful.
    • Put ice on the muscle area (20 minutes every hour while awake). Ice is a very effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent. Small ice packs, such as frozen vegetable packs or frozen water in foamy coffee cups, applied to the area can help to decrease inflammation.
    • Compression can be applied gently with an Ace or other elastic bandage, which can provide support and decrease swelling. Do not wrap tightly.
    • Elevate the injured area to reduce swelling. Support a tight leg muscle while sitting, for example.
  • Activities that increase muscle pain or work the affected part of the body are not recommended until the pain significantly subsides.

What areTreatmentsfor muscle strains?

Medical treatment is similar to home treatment. The doctor, however, can also determine the extent of muscle and tendon damage and whethercrutchesor a brace is needed for healing. The doctor can also determine if a patient needs to restrict their activities, take days off work, and if rehabilitation exercises are needed to aid recovery.

How can someone prevent a pulled muscle?

Not all muscle strains can be prevented, but the chance that they will develop can be reduced by the following:

  • Avoid injuries by doing daily stretches.
  • Always stretch beforeexercise.
  • Establish a warm-up routine before starting strenuous activitiesexercise.
  • Start an exercise program in consultation with a physician.

What is the prognosis for a muscle strain?

Usually, with proper treatment, most people recover completely from muscle strain. More complicated situations are treated individually by the doctor.

Muscle strain: symptoms, treatment and recovery time (2)

Symptoms of Sprains and Strains

The strains, whether acute or chronic, have localized symptoms in the injured muscle groups or tendons. The pain can occur in a small or larger area, such as a group of muscles. Pain may be immediate in an acute strain or may be delayed in the case of an overuse injury. Signs and symptoms of strains include

  • dor,
  • inflammation,
  • muscle spasm,
  • muscle cramps,
  • muscle weakness and
  • bruising may occur, but may take several days.

Read more about sprains and strains »

Revised on13/12/2022


Heftler, Jeffrey M. "hamstring strain". Medscape. with. May 29, 2017.article/307765-overview>.

Kirkendall, Donald T. and William E. Garrett Jr. "Muscle Strain Injuries: Research Results and Clinical Applicability." Medscape. with..

Klippel, John H., et al., eds.Booklet on rheumatic diseases. 13th edition. New York: Springer and Arthritis Foundation, 2008.


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