Muscle Strain is one of the most common injuries affecting Americans today. Anyone is susceptible to muscle strain. A muscle strain, also known as a pulled muscle, occurs when a muscle is overstretched or torn in a way that causes damage to the area. The areas most commonly affected are the back, neck, shoulder, hamstring and biceps. Muscle strain can usually be found in athletes who increase their workout dramatically and suddenly, however it can happen to anyone in almost any situation. For instance, muscle strain commonly happens when anyone is performing a physical task while they are fatigued, performing intensive, repetitive motions, or using improper posture or biomechanical action while working the muscle. Muscle strain can happen during any strenuous activity, such as lifting something too heavy in an improper manner. Severe muscle strain may actually cause the muscle to tear, and when this happens, it may damage small blood vessels and create local bleeding, as well as pain and inflammation.
Symptoms of muscle strain include:
- bruising of the muscle
- Pain even when the muscle is not in use
- Pain in relation to other muscles that are being used in the surrounding area of the strain
There are 3 distinct types of muscle strain.
- Normal, mild strain with only a few torn muscle fibers. At this stage, you can still use the muscle, even with a mild amount of pain.
- Moderate strain with more injured fibers: Swelling and tenderness will be distinctly present during this type of strain.
- Strain that caused a tear all the way through the muscle: Sometimes people hear a “popping” sound during this type of injury because the muscle has actually separated itself into two distinct pieces.
Causes of muscle strain may include:
- not “warming up” before a physical activity
- poor flexibility
- chronic muscle movement without an adequate amount of rest between the work
- strenuous, repetitive motions
If you are suffering from a muscle strain, there are a few ways to relieve the pain that accompanies this awful type of injury.