How to treat a torn abdominal muscle

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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

Torn abdominal muscle
Severe abdominal pain after performing strenuous activities
  • 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

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.


  • 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.


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.

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