Overstretched muscle fibers caused by physical tasks lead to an injury known as a strain, or pulled muscle. While it can happen during normal activities such as lifting heavy objects, athletes are more prone to the injury because of increased muscle use.
Strained Muscle – Various Types
Performing the same tasks over and over again commonly causes strained muscle. Activities that require hours of hunching the back can lead to lower back strain. The same position may also leave neck muscles in a constantly stretched and extended manner, causing neck strain and neck strain-related headaches. This strain can also occur in the shoulder when it is extended or raised over a person’s head for a long period of time. Forearm strain can stem from hand activities that involve holding, squeezing or twisting heavy or tight objects or tools repeatedly. This type of strain can also hurt the hands and wrists. Leg strains are perhaps the most common type of strained muscle in athletes. It can occur in the hamstring, quadriceps, and calf or lower thigh.
Muscle Strain Symptoms – Things to Know
The most obvious signs of a strained muscle are redness caused by bruising, open cuts, and swelling due to the influx of fluid in the affected area. Muscle strain symptoms include dull to sharp pain, depending on the severity, a popping or snapping sound in the affected area – which indicates serious tear or strain in the injured fibers, and muscle failure or immobility. The muscles fail to function because of the inability of separated muscle fibers to expand and contract. Weakness and stiffness within the muscle, which also associated with immobility, is also one of the most common muscle strain symptoms.
Muscle Strain Treatment – Choosing the Best
Doctors may conduct a physical exam of the injured patient to determine if the muscle is partially or completely torn. They may recommend X-rays or laboratory tests in the event of infection or if the patient has a history of trauma. For swelling of local bleeding, muscle strain treatment can involve the application of heat or ice packs covered with a towel or any protective covering. Injured patients can manage the strain themselves, first by removing clothing and accessories in the affected area. It is important to rest the strained muscle and ice it for 20 minutes every hour. An elastic bandage can be firmly but not tightly wrapped around the strain for compression to decrease swelling. Elevating the injury can also induce the same effect. For pain relief, muscle strain treatment medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen may be taken.