Pulled Muscle

It is possible to ‘pull’ almost any muscle in your body. While warming up and stretching your muscles before and after exercise does help to prevent this, you can still pull a muscle through over exertion, over use, muscle fatigue or through a fall. It is important to work to your ability when exercising, and not to attempt too much too quickly. Build up to your goals slowly to prevent injury.

What is a pulled muscle?

When a muscle is ‘pulled’, this term refers to the over stretching of the muscle fibres which can lead to tearing. If the muscle is subject to a sudden force which is severe, the fibres within the muscle are not prepared or able to deal with this force, and consequently they stretch and tear. This gives rise to the terms ‘muscle pull’ (some torn fibres) and ‘muscle tear’ (many or all of the muscle fibres torn).

How is a pulled muscle treated?

  • Rest – The muscle needs time to heal, and in order to assist the healing process it is important to rest the injured muscle.
  • Ice – Ice will help to relax the muscle and can be a soothing treatment. Ice will also help to relieve any muscle spasm caused by the injury. Use the ice for 20 minutes at a time, with a 20 minute rest in between.

How do I begin to use the muscle again?

As soon as movement is tolerable, it is advisable to begin to gently stretch the muscle. This is important to re-lengthen the muscle fibres in order to prevent future injury, as if the muscle fibres are not stretched out, they will heal in a shortened state and will therefore pull again when exercise is resumed.

When can I begin to exercise the muscle?

As a general rule, when the muscle can be stretched without any discomfort or pain it is safe to begin exercising the muscle again. The time frame for this healing can vary depending on the muscle concerned and the severity of the muscle pull.

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