The risk of pulling a muscle is typically higher during high-intensity activity, such as athletics or gym workouts. Contact sports also have an increased risk of muscle strains. However, muscle strains can occur during any form of activity, including things as simple as walking down the stairs. Often, doing yardwork on the weekends is a common cause of muscles strains.
Here are some of the most common causes of muscle strains.
The symptoms of a pulled muscle may vary slightly depending on severity. Symptoms may include:
Laser Therapy for Tennis Elbow
NSAIDs: May help reduce pain and swelling
Heat: May be used after 2-3 days post injury to facilitate circulation to the area and promote healing.
Physical Therapy: Your MD may prescribe formal physical therapy to help your strain heal.
What Are the Muscles Which Are Strained the Most Often?
Low back strain
JOI has identified the 3 most common strained muscles.
1)Low Back Strain
The muscles of the low back are often strained while trying to lift objects. They are also strained when doing yardwork or other activities for too long of a period of time. To learn more about these strains, please read this article: Dr. Kambach on lower back_strain
Pain in the spine
2) Hamstring Strains
The hamstring muscles are the large muscles in the back of your thigh. These muscles are often strained while running or sprinting. In sports the common symptom for a hamstring strain is when the athlete suddenly “pulls up” or has to stop running and they usually grab the back of their leg. To learn more about this injury, please read this article: muscle strain
Exercise For Legs Hamstrings
3) Neck Strain
The muscles of your neck are often strained while sleeping. These smaller muscles of the neck when kept in a poor position while sleeping will certainly be sore in the morning. Often, people state they have a crick in their neck with this injury. To read more about neck strains, go to: neck sprain.
Neck Muscles are also susceptible to a strain.
4) Quad Strain
The quadriceps muscle or quad, is a group of 4 muscles in the front of the thigh. The quad muscle is so important to the function of the knee joint especially with injuries. With an injury to the knee and swelling, often the quad muscle shuts down due to swelling. The quad muscle is also very important with patello-femoral tracking. This is the tracking of the patella or knee-cap within the knee. The VMO muscle must be strong enough to keep the knee-cap in the correct position. A strain to the quad can affect the knee significantly.
Man Doing Leg With Machine In Gym – Leg Exercises
When to See a Doctor for a Muscle Strain
For mild to moderate strains, using a home treatment plan should be enough. However, in some cases, a pulled muscle may require extra care. Seek medical attention if you experience one or more of the following complications:
- Loss of all muscle function
- Pain does not subside after 48 hours
- Numbness in the affected area
- Significant swelling that does not go down
- Open wounds
Prevention of Strains
By taking some basic precautions, you may decrease your chance of injury. Some prevention strategies include:
- Proper warmup before participating in sports
- Correct technique when lifting heavy loads either in the gym or during daily activity
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Stretching before and after a workout may help prevent stiffness
- Increase intensity slowly so as not to overexert your muscles
Recovery for a Muscle Strain
The amount of time it takes to recover from a muscle strain will depend on the severity of the injury. Mild strains will heal quicker than severe strains. Mild strains may take anywhere from one to four weeks with home care, whereas a severe strain involving a tear may take months to fully heal and may sometimes require physical therapy.
JOI MD Locations Include:
- Baptist South, Baptist Beaches, Baptist Clay, Nassau, and San Marco
JOI also offers physical therapy in numerous areas in northeast Florida, if your referring MD feels physical therapy would assist you in relieving these symptoms. We have a team of physicians and therapists who work together for your best outcome. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, you should probably see a physician. There are so many treatment options available for you to get back to the activities that you love.
By: Michelle Duclos, MA, ATC, LAT, CES
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JOI Physical Therapy Locations Include:
Arlington, Beaches, Fleming Island, Mandarin, Nassau, Nocatee, North, Point Meadows, San Marco, South, Westside, and World Golf Village. For appointments, please call 904-858-7045.
Finally, if you feel you need to see one of our Orthopedic Specialists, call 904-JOI-2000 or schedule online by clicking the link below.
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