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Dealing with piriformis syndrome

September 12th, 2017 | Posted by corinne grace in Muscle Injuries - (Comments Off on Dealing with piriformis syndrome)

Piriformis syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder. It happens when the sciatic nerve become compressed by the piriformis muscles. The piriformis muscles are found in the small muscles found at the deeper area of buttock. It functions for the rotation of the leg in outward direction. It also stabilizes the joint of the hip and for rotating the thigh away from the body.

Piriformis muscles are used in sports that require all movement of the legs and hips especially while lifting and rotating of things. There are two types of piriformis syndrome, the primary and the secondary.

Primary piriformis syndrome is due to split sciatic nerve which is an abnormal sciatic nerve path or split piriformis muscles. Secondary piriformis syndrome is due to precipitating causes that includes local ischemia, ischemic mass effect, microtrauma and macrotrauma.

piriformis-syndrome

Pain that spread down the back of the leg into the hamstrings and into the calf muscles

Causes of piriformis syndrome

  • Trauma such as falling in the seated posture.
  • Running downhill
  • Carrying heavy objects on the stairs
  • Twisting and bending while picking an object from the floor
  • Excessive performing exercises that involves the gluteal and muscles of the hip.
  • Prolonged sitting in crossed leg position or on a hard surface
  • Poor posture and tightness of the muscles
  • Flat feet and knocked knees

Symptoms

  • Severe pain with prolonged sitting
  • Tenderness in the muscle area
  • Tingling sensation in the buttocks
  • Pain can be felt at the back of foot, calf and thigh
  • Pain when walking up the stairs or any inclines
  • Numbness in the buttocks
  • Pain that spread down the back of the leg into the hamstrings and into the calf muscles
  • Limited range of movement of the joint of the hip especially in internal hip rotation

Treatment

  • Take plenty of rest. Avoid performing activities that cause pain to prevent further damage and worsen the condition. Resting is needed for fast healing of the condition.
  • Use heat therapy on the affected area in the form of a heating pad to lessen the pain and the discomfort due to piriformis syndrome. Wrap heating pad in a towel before placing to the area to prevent burns and worsen the condition. Another alternative is taking a warm bath is also good for the condition.
  • Apply an ice pack on the area for at least 15-20 minutes to lessen the pain and the swelling due to piriformis syndrome. Do not apply the ice pack directly on the skin. Wrap the ice pack with a towel or a piece of cloth before application to prevent ice burn and worsen the condition. Another alternative is using a bag of frozen vegetables such as corn or peas are also good for the condition. Apply ice on the area every four hours to lessen the symptoms.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen to lessen the pain and the discomforts.
  • Seek the help of the physical therapist for some rehabilitation exercises to improve strength, flexibility, stability and balance of the pelvis and core stability and endurance.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on piriformis syndrome is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage this muscle condition by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.

How to treat wrist tendonitis

September 16th, 2016 | Posted by corinne grace in Muscle Injuries - (Comments Off on How to treat wrist tendonitis)

Wrist tendinitis or tenosynovitis causes irritation and inflammation of the tendons found around the wrist joint. There are plenty of tendons surrounding the joint and tendonitis usually affects one or several of these tendons.

Symptoms of wrist tendonitis

  • Wrist pain
  • Warmth and redness of the tendons
  • Grinding sensation or crepitus when moving the tendons

Treatment

Wrist tendonitis

Take plenty of rest especially the affected wrist.

  • Take plenty of rest especially the affected wrist. Avoid performing activities such as housework, typing, gardening or using hand tools to prevent stressing the wrist and making the condition worse.
  • Wear a brace for the wrist to prevent unnecessary movements for fast healing of the condition. Use ergonomic support such as keyboards, mouse pads and tools that enable the wrist to rest. Make sure it fits the size and body type. Adjust the chair, keyboard and desktop to lessen the stress placed on the joints and the tendons.
  • Apply an ice pack on the affected area for at least 15-20 minutes throughout the day to lessen the swelling and pain by numbing the area. It also increases the flow of blood in the area. Avoid applying the ice directly on the skin to prevent frostbite and makes the condition worse. Wrap ice with a towel before applying to the area.
  • Elevate the wrist above the level of the heart to minimize the inflammation.
  • Seek the help of the physical therapist for some rehabilitation exercises for flexibility of the joint and making the muscle strong.
  • Take the prescribed anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen to lessen the pain, inflammation and swelling of the soft tissues. Another way is applying an anti-inflammatory pain cream or gel on the affected area to lessen the pain and inflammation.

If wrist tendonitis does not respond to rest and basic home treatment, seek medical help immediately.

Tips

  • Adjust the way in lifting or gripping an object to prevent flare-ups of wrist tendonitis.
  • Change the position of the hands when performing activities to avoid placing pressure on a single tendon.
  • Wear a splint when performing activities to prevent irritation on the tendons such as a brace or a simple support wrap to lessen the symptoms.
  • Perform gentle stretching and apply heat before an activity for proper conditioning of the tendon and apply an ice pack to prevent inflammation of the area.
  • Avoid bending the wrist up and down when working with a computer keyboard or mouse and also while driving.
  • Take frequent breaks or alternate household tasks and activities to lessen the chances of excessively moving the wrist in one direction.
  • Avoid performing activities that requires long periods of reaching overhead such as painting a ceiling and if there is a need to perform this work, take frequent breaks.

How to treat a torn abdominal muscle

September 9th, 2016 | Posted by corinne grace in Muscle Injuries - (Comments Off on How to treat a torn abdominal muscle)

A torn abdominal muscle will result to pain, inflammation and weakness which is usually caused by improper techniques during workouts or lifting of heavy objects. While performing exercises, injuries can happen such as torn abdominal muscle fibers. Injuries caused by sports happens when the person was not properly stretched before an activity or straining a particular muscle.

Symptoms of torn abdominal muscle

  • Severe abdominal pain after performing strenuous activities
  • Pain when stretching the abdominal muscles
  • Stiffness and discomfort
  • Tenderness and spasms of muscles
  • Cramping and spasms of muscle, shooting pain and lack of movement
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Inability to stretch or flex the affected muscle
    Torn abdominal muscle

    Severe abdominal pain after performing strenuous activities

Abdominal tears are classified into grades. Grade 1 tears causes slight discomfort and the person can still perform activity for a short time. Grade 2 tears causes moderate discomfort and the individual cannot continue performing activities that involve the abdomen. The abdomen is sore when touched. As for grade 3 tears, it causes severe discomfort and difficulty performing regular activities. The area is swollen and accompanied by cramping and pain. Take note that grades 2 and 3 tears can lead to bruising.

Treatment

  • Take plenty of rest and minimize performing activities for fast healing of the condition
  • Apply an ice pack on the affected area on the first 48-72 hours for at least 15 -20 minutes to lessen the swelling and pain. Another way is to massage the area using ice in a circular movement for at least 15 minutes at 3 times every day for fast healing of the condition.
  • Eat diet rich in protein content such as fish, lean meats, milk, cheese, poultry and eggs. Protein is required for the repair of damaged muscle fibers.
  • Apply heat on the affected area after 24 hours. Heat relaxes the muscles surrounding the damaged area, lessens the inflammation and promotes fast healing of the area.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen to lessen the inflammation and pain. A muscle relaxant is also good for the condition as well.
  • Begin stretching of the muscles when inflammation and pain is reduced. Gentle stretching prevents scarring of the surrounding tissue and restore proper functioning of the muscles.
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects or performing exercises to prevent the condition from getting worse.
  • Gradually return to normal activities but this should be done with the help of the physical therapist.

Tips

Stretch before performing an activity such as any sports or physical activities to warm the muscles and make them flexible. Warm up the abdominal muscles and bend from side to side to stretch the internal and external oblique muscles. In addition, avoid excessively straining any muscles to prevent tears or sprains.

More Information

The material posted on this page on muscular injuries is for learning purposes only. To learn to recognize, manage and prevent muscular injuries, as well as sprains and strains, register for a standard first aid course with one of our training providers.

How to treat neck muscle spasms

July 29th, 2016 | Posted by corinne grace in Muscle Injuries - (Comments Off on How to treat neck muscle spasms)

Neck muscle spasms are considered as a severely painful condition. It can be caused by stress, lifting heavy loads and poor posture. Spasms are a sudden spontaneous contraction or seizure movement. Neck muscle spasms happen due to whiplash from a vehicular collision, injuries from sports, overuse and straining of the muscles of the neck.

Causes of neck muscle spasms

  • Neck muscle spasms can be caused by arthritis which involves the inflammation of the joints. Specifically, osteoarthritis is caused by the tearing and wearing off of the joints and cartilages and eventually damages the surrounding soft tissues, muscles and nerves.
  • Herniated disc can also cause tingling and numbness sensation, weakness of the muscle and spasms in the neck.
  • Muscle strain can be caused by vehicular accidents, injuries from sports and slip and fall injuries. Muscle strains happen when the muscle is overstretched which results to tearing of the muscle fibers which can range from mild micro-tearing to complete muscle rupture.
  • Poor posture with muscle spasms causes pain in the neck. This can be caused by an overuse injury where muscles of the neck become strained due to long periods of poor posture.
    Neck muscle spasms

    Neck muscle spasms can be caused by arthritis which involves the inflammation of the joints.

Treatment

  • Apply pressure immediately in the neck. Press the affected muscles using the palm or fingers and apply pressure as tolerated to stop the neck muscles spasms immediately. Massage the affected area at least 2-3 minutes until the neck muscle spasms can no longer be felt.
  • Move the neck slowly from one side to the other. This moving action of the neck keeps the muscles moving rather than the spasms. Stretch the neck on one side and remain in that position for at least a few seconds and then move on to the other side.
  • Take a hot shower. Allow the hot water to flow over the affected neck for a few minutes until the spasms in the neck stops.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to lessen the pain and inflammation caused by the neck muscle spasms.
  • Apply an ice pack on the affected neck for at least 20 minutes every hour on the first 2 days after the injury to lessen the spasms. Avoid applying the ice pack directly on the skin. It should be wrapped using a small towel before it is applied on the affected area to prevent frostbite that can worsen the condition. After a few days, apply heat on the area. All you have to do is soak a soft cotton cloth in a bowl filled with hot water, wring out excess water and apply on the affected neck for at least 20 minutes at a time several times every day for 3-4 days until the neck muscle spasms are minimized.
  • Minimize engaging in activities for at least a day or two to relieve the spasms. Wear a cervical collar to support the neck while in an upright position and use contour pillows for added support and relief from the pain while resting.

How to deal with sore thighs

July 29th, 2016 | Posted by corinne grace in Muscle Injuries - (Comments Off on How to deal with sore thighs)

An individual can end up with sore thighs every now and then. The thigh is part of the body between the pelvis and the knee. The quadriceps which are the extensor muscles in the top of the thigh are the largest groups of muscles in the thigh. The quadriceps is composed of rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius and vastus medialis that helps to extend and straighten the lower leg.

The hamstrings are also large group of muscles which are flexor muscles found at the back of the thigh. The hamstrings brings the leg backward and flex the leg toward the buttocks. Whether caused by sitting in the same position for a longer time, performing intense exercises and lack of muscle conditioning, sore thighs can occur which makes walking difficult and painful.

Treatment

Sore thighs

Apply an ice pack on the affected thigh.

  • Apply an ice pack on the affected thigh. Wrap the ice pack using a small towel and then place it on the affected thigh for at least 10-15 minutes for 2-3 hours. You can keep the ice pack in place by wrapping it with an elastic bandage around the thigh.
  • Massage the affected area to relieve the tension on the muscles. If there is a knot in the muscles, place the thumb on the area and press it gently until the knot disappears.
  • Elevate the legs by placing a couple of pillows under the heel, to lessen inflammation and swelling.
  • Take the prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to lessen the swelling and minimize the pain.
  • Avoid performing exercises until the soreness is reduced and prevent the risk of tearing and straining of the muscles. Perform light stretching for the thigh such as pulling the foot toward the buttocks and cross one leg over the other knee and lean forward to stretch the thigh.
  • In bathtub filled with warm water, mix it 1-2 cups of Epsom salt. Mix well until fully dissolved. Soak in the water for at least 15 minutes or until the warm water becomes cool. Perform this process at least 3 times every week. Avoid this procedure when suffering from conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart problems.
  • Low levels of magnesium in the body can lead to sore thighs. Eat foods rich in magnesium such as molasses, pumpkin seeds, squash, spinach and cocoa powder.
  • Using virgin coconut oil is also good for the condition. Use 2-3 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil every day in cooking foods and apply coconut oil on foods.

Tips

  • If the affected area is injured such as bruising or tenderness when touched, it is vital to rest and take pain medication to lessen the pain. If the symptoms still persist, seek medical help immediately.
  • Always start a workout with a 5-10-minute session of walking to prevent sore thighs. Perform at least 5-10 minutes of stretching exercises to prevent developing sore thighs.

How to treat sore legs after a long walk

June 24th, 2016 | Posted by corinne grace in Muscle Injuries - (Comments Off on How to treat sore legs after a long walk)
Sore legs

Sore legs can occur if an individual strenuously engaged in physical activity or after a long walk. Anything that results to a problem, difficulty or danger to our well-being is called stress. Certain forms of stress are beneficial for the well-being of the individual. A stress that weakens the mental and physical health is bad. Stress increases the tension of the muscles, changes in blood pressure and release hormones and neurotransmitters. Walking is a natural way of fighting stress but it can result to discomfort or sore legs especially if the individual is not used to walking long distances.

How to deal with sore legs

  • Elevate the legs above the level of the heart when resting since it promotes proper circulation of blood and lymph fluids in the lower legs or improve blood circulation in the area. Taking away socks and nylon from the feet lessens swelling and relaxes the feet. Another alternative is elevating the legs using layers of soft pillows when lying on the sofa and avoid crossing the legs or ankles to prevent stopping of blood flow.
    Sore legs

    Before performing any activities such as walking long distance or any athletic activities, perform warm up and stretching exercises for the legs to prevent sore legs due to sprains, strains and muscle cramps.

  • Soak the affected legs in a warm Epsom salt bath to lessen the swelling and pain especially if it due to muscle tension. The magnesium found in the salt relaxes the muscles. Avoid making the water too hot to prevent scalding but make it tolerated and soak in the bath for at least 30 minutes. If the affected leg is swelling, follow the warm salt bath with an ice bath until the legs feels numb for at least 15 minutes or so. Dry the feet thoroughly to avoid slipping and falls.
  • Perform some mild stretching exercises since it relieves tension in the muscles and increase the flow of blood. Stretch the calves, quadriceps and hamstrings. Hold the stretching exercises without bouncing for at least 30 seconds for 3-5 times every day until discomfort in the legs is reduced.
  • Perform quad stretches by standing or brace the body against a wall and then flex the knee and pull the foot that it touches the buttocks.
  • Perform the hamstring stretch by standing and bending over at the waist until the toes can be touched.
  • Before performing any activities such as walking long distance or any athletic activities, perform warm up and stretching exercises for the legs to prevent sore legs due to sprains, strains and muscle cramps.
  • Take over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin to lessen the pain and inflammation of the sore legs. Avoid taking these medications on an empty stomach to prevent the risk of developing an ulcer.
  • Avoid wearing ill-fitting and excessively heavy shoes to prevent making the legs tired and sore. Wear shoes with ½ inch heels. When wearing shoes, tie the shoes tightly. Remember that loose shoes or flip-flops places significant strain on the lower leg muscles.
  • Avoid being overweight.
  • Massage the affected leg to lessen the tension of the muscles and inflammation. Massage also helps breaks down scar tissue and helps increase the flow of blood in the area.

Lactic acid in muscles

May 27th, 2016 | Posted by corinne grace in Muscle Injuries - (Comments Off on Lactic acid in muscles)
Heat exhaustion

Lactic acid accumulation in muscles causes soreness after performing a workout. Lactic acid is a waste product of glycogen conversion into energy which accumulates when there is a decreased supply of oxygen in the area. This happens when performing anaerobic exercises such as weight lifting or sprinting, untried vigorous exercises and overexerting. This results to the formation of lactic acid in the muscles. By cooling down and performing light activities and motionless stretches, the lactic acid can be minimized.

Lactic acid

Apply a warm or cold compress on the affected area to lessen the pain and swelling around the damaged area.

Treatment

  • Apply a warm or cold compress on the affected area to lessen the pain and swelling around the damaged area. Heat heals the injury on the muscles and promotes fast healing of the area as well as increases the flow of blood.
  • Massage the affected area to relieve the tension, reduce the pain due to strained or torn muscles and prevent future attacks of cramping.
  • Take the prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to lessen the pain and inflammation.
  • Warm up before performing any physical activity to minimize the lactic acid formation. Begin the workout with stretching of the muscles and joints to minimize the risk for injuries. Take a walk, run on a treadmill or pedal on a stationary bike for at least a few minutes. Warming up keeps the blood oxygenated and minimizes the accumulation of lactic acid.
  • Perform aerobic and strengthening exercises regularly at least 20-30 minutes such as walking, rowing, jogging and aerobic dance and 20-minute weight lifting every week to minimize the lactic acid formation in the muscles
  • Cool down after a workout. Cool down at least 5 minutes or until the heart rate returns to normal.
  • After cooling down, perform static stretches by stretching the muscles as far as possible and holding the stretch. Put one foot on a bench and lean over from the waist and then take hold of the foot or as close as can be reached and remain in that position for a slow count of 10. It stretches the hamstring and eliminates excess lactic acid in the muscles.
  • Take a bath mixed with Epsom salts to relieve the soreness of the muscles.
  • Increase the intake of magnesium in the diet to minimize the buildup of lactic acid. Mineral magnesium is needed for the production of energy in the body. It gives energy to the muscles while performing exercises and also prevents build up of lactic acid. Vegetables such as collar beans, pinto beans, kidney beans pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds as well as tofu are rich in magnesium content.
  • Consume foods rich in fatty acids to lessen the lactic acid accumulation in the muscles. It also lessens the dependence of the body on lactic acid when performing intense workouts. Salmon, mackerel, walnuts and flaxseeds are rich in essential fatty acids.

Knuckle pain

May 27th, 2016 | Posted by corinne grace in Muscle Injuries - (Comments Off on Knuckle pain)
aquagenic-urticaria

Some individuals have experienced knuckle pain at some point. The fingers and the knuckles are composed of bones, ligaments and tendons. The tendons facilitate the fingers to move and bend while the ligaments keeps the fingers in a permanent position. There are conditions that causes the bones, ligaments and the knuckles to become dislocated or weaken and often related to pain in the joint of the knuckles and stiffness which is due to limited range of movement.

Causes of knuckle pain

  • Osteoarthritis can cause pain and stiffness in the knuckles.
  • Trauma or minor injury that is caused by a hairline fracture in the finger bones.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis which is the inflammation of the tissue of the joint can.
  • Very cold weather can result to reduced circulation of blood in the extremities.
  • Cracking of the knuckles can damage the bony cartilages
  • Overuse of the fingers such as typing on the keyboard
  • Gout and psoriatic arthritis or complication of psoriasis

Treatment

Knuckle pain

Apply warm or cold compresses on the knuckle at least 30 minutes to lessen the swelling. Apply an ice pack or bag of ice to lessen the inflammation, swelling and pain inside the hand.

  • Soak the affected area in warm salt water for at least 15 -20 minutes to lessen the pain, aches and stiffness of the knuckles and fingers. Salt absorbs pain in the body.
  • Avoid constantly cracking the joint of the fingers to minimize the risk of damage to the bony cartilage.
  • Apply aloe vera on the finger since it alleviates knuckle pain and stiffness of the finger
  • Avoid eating eggs, red meat and processed foods since they can worsen the pain especially among those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
  • Massage the affected area to lessen the pain in the knuckles and stiffness of the finger
  • Take antioxidants in the form of fruits and carrots which reduces the pain in the knuckles and fingers. Antioxidants protects the body from free radicals that can damage the cells of the tissue.
  • Apply warm or cold compresses on the knuckle at least 30 minutes to lessen the swelling. Apply an ice pack or bag of ice to lessen the inflammation, swelling and pain inside the hand. If ice is not available, a bag of frozen vegetable can be used instead. Wrap the ice pack in a towel before applying on the affected area. Remember to avoid applying the ice pack directly on the skin to prevent frostbite or making the condition worse.
  • Mix cinnamon and few drops of honey and then mix well to become a paste. Apply the mixture on the affected area to lessen the pain and inflammation.
  • Massage the joints using olive oil since it provides relief to the condition. Olive oil has natural anti-inflammatory properties.

Tips

  • Avoid eating foods that can trigger inflammation such as refined sugars, red meat and breads.
  • Avoid cracking the fingers and knuckles.
  • Give the hands enough time to rest regularly
  • Use a neutral position in typing to reduce strain on the hands.

Treatment for leg cramps in children

March 18th, 2016 | Posted by corinne grace in Muscle Injuries - (Comments Off on Treatment for leg cramps in children)

Leg cramps are described as sudden uncontrolled contraction of the muscles. Children can experience discomfort caused by leg cramps especially during periods of rapid growth. Leg cramps causes severe pain and disrupts sleep especially when they happen at night.

The cramps can be severe when it affects small children. Overextension of the muscles of the leg or a pinched nerve while sleeping can cause leg cramps. The cramped muscles can be hard to the touch or evidently bulging. Cramping that occurs among children are usually triggered by excessive physical activity during the day.

Causes of leg cramps

  • Performing high-intensity activities such as jumping and running or activities that are new to the child. The fibers of the muscle will form lactic acid as a waste product following an activity and microscopic tears develops once fibers of the muscles are stressed.
  • Excessive perspiration can cause imbalance in the electrolyte balance and impaired regulation of temperature of the body can result to abnormal muscle responses.
    Leg cramps

    Leg cramps are described as sudden uncontrolled contraction of the muscles.

  • Imbalances in the electrolytes
  • Rapid growth of a child increases the incidence of leg cramps at age 12 with maximum incidence between the ages 16 and 18. The bones grow and changes in skeletal alignment needed for the muscles to grow, stretch and some bodily changes.
  • A child with flat feet or other structural disorder of the leg can experience leg cramps due to imbalance of pressure placed upon the muscles of the leg.
  • Conditions such as diabetes, anemia, hypoglycemia and thyroid can experience cramping as symptoms.

Treatment

  • Perform stretching by holding the heel of the child on one hand and the toes in the next. Gently pull the heel of the child and push the toes up toward the leg. This stretch can help relieve muscle contraction in the calf. Remain in this position until the leg cramps subside.
  • Massage the calf muscle while cramping. Gently stroke the cramping muscle using firm pressure by starting at the ankle and spread up towards the knee. Massage in this manner until the cramping is minimized. Once cramping is minimized, massage the affected muscle using a circular stroke. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and place on the affected muscle for at least 20-30 minutes to lessen the pain.
  • Deficiencies in nutrition such as calcium, potassium and sodium can also cause leg cramps. Increase the consumption of calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu, almonds and oranges. Additionally, it is also recommended to add potassium-rich foods such as banana, potatoes, tuna, strawberries, carrots and lettuce. After performing strenuous physical activities, provide the child with sports drinks to help replace the lost electrolytes and sodium and also help in preventing leg cramps from developing.
  • Drink coconut water regularly can also help in preventing leg cramps.
  • Drink chamomile tea with a few drops of honey or agave syrup when cramping is happening. Take note that chamomile helps in relaxing the muscles and minimize the occurrence of the leg cramps.

Muscle Strain: First Aid Management

August 12th, 2015 | Posted by Mikha Canon in Muscle Injuries - (Comments Off on Muscle Strain: First Aid Management)

Muscle strain is an injury to the muscles or tendons (links muscles together) that pertains to the sudden tearing of the muscle fibers caused by exertion or over stretching. Muscle strain may occur partially or completely, with the latter being more difficult to treat. The most commonly affected muscles of muscle strain are the lower back, shoulder, neck and hamstring (muscle behind the thigh). Muscle strain should not be confused with muscle sprain, which is caused by torn fibers in the ligament.

Muscle strain is also called pulled muscle or muscle tear.

The ba

The lower back, along with the shoulder. neck and hamstring, are the most commonly  affected muscles of muscle strain

Causes of Muscle Strain

Muscle strains don’t always occur with extreme or strenuous activities. They may also occur while doing normal activities. Muscle strain usually results from fatigue, improper or overuse. The following may lead to muscle strain:

  • Sports training or performance (which makes athletes more at risk for muscle strain)
  • Quick and abrupt heavy lifting
  • Work tasks

Signs and Symptoms of Muscle Strain

The signs and symptoms of muscle strain may include:

  • Local bleeding or bruising (or any skin discoloration) caused by damage in the small blood vessels
  • Open cuts
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Stiffness that is localized
  • Pain upon moving the affected muscle or joint
  • Pain that manifests even at rest caused by irritation of the nerve endings in the affected region
  • Muscle or tendon weakness
  • Unable to use the muscle (loss of efficient movement)

First Aid Management for Muscle Strain

Mild to moderate cases of muscle strain can be managed at home by giving first aid to casualties. The primary goal of muscle strain is to reduce pain and swelling. This can be done by following price and avoiding HARM.

PRICE Therapy (Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate)

  • Protect the strained muscle from further injury –best to use a support that will increase protection
  • Rest the strained muscle or tendon, thus do not engage in further activities that may worsen the injury; it is advisable to avoid activity for 48 to 72 hours
  • Ice wrapped in cloth or towel should be placed over the affected muscle or tendon for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours while awake. Do not apply ice directly on the skin and ensure that it is not left for too long.
  • Compress or bandage the affected area to help limit swelling and movement that may exacerbate the injury. Bandage firmly but not too tightly to ensure that blood flow is maintained.
  • Elevate the affected area for 12 inches or place on top of a pillow to help limit swelling.
  • Bonus: Take painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen and aspirin to help reduce pain and improve movement.

HARM (Heat, Alcohol, Running, Massage)

  • Avoid Heat on the affected area as this may actually increase pain and swelling. Only apply heat once there has been an obvious reduction in swelling.
  • Avoid Alcohol as apart from hastening the healing period, it increases bleeding and swelling
  • Avoid Running or any form of exercise that may lead to aggravation.
  • Avoid Massage because it may increase swelling and bleeding.

Learn how to properly manage muscle strain and other common muscle injuries by enrolling in First Aid Courses.

Muscle strain is the sudden tearing of the muscle fibers due to exertion or over stretching. It is also called pulsed muscle. First Aid Treatment for muscle strain follows PRICE and avoids HARM.