Muscle pulls and muscle strains take place when small fibers that're located within a muscle become stretched too far. This results in a tear of the muscle whether it be completely or just partially.
There are different grades of muscle pulls and strains including:
This is when just a few fibers are torn.
When more extensive fiber damage occurs, this is a grade 2.
When the fibers completely tear or rupture.
You'll find that most pulls or strains occur within a few weeks. Luckily, there are some treatment options available that you can do at home or in a medical professional’s office that can help alleviate some of the pain and discomfort associated with these injuries. This can also help heal the problem faster as well.
When you've lifted something that's too heavy or you've moved in an unnatural way, a muscle strain or pull occurs. If you rest the injury immediately, this prevents you from further injuring the area and you're more likely to heal properly. The first few days are crucial but if within a few weeks you don't see improvement, surgery or physical therapy may be needed.
The rule of thumb when it comes to ice, is that you should apply ice for the first 24 to 48 hours of an injury. This reduces inflammation by constricting blood vessels around the injured area. You can apply ice to your injury for up to 20 minutes each hour.
After a couple of days has gone by, you can switch over to heat to bring you relief
. Heat will help promote blood flow to the area and you'll feel better. Don’t get too confident though and try to move around. You still need to rest your pulled or strained muscle for the recommended amount of time. Moist heat can also be helpful if you've a heating pad that allows you to use a moist compress along with it. Dry heat can actually dehydrate the muscle and prevent healing from occurring, so just keep that in mind Heat can also be used in the future if the injury flares up after it healed.
You can use over the counter, or prescription anti-inflammatory drugs to bring down the swelling and to promote healing. Use as directed and be aware that you could experience stomach aliments if you use for too many days in a row.
While a pulled or strained muscle might side line you for some time, the good news is that these types of injuries usually can be healed at home, without the need for surgery or major medical intervention. If you're concerned with your injury, you can contact your trusted medical professional for advice. They may recommend you have an X-Ray or MRI done in order to get a better look at the injury internally.