The occurrence of muscle strain happens when we least expect it. Oftentimes, it gets too unbearable that you just end up asking yourself, how long does it take for a muscle strain to heal? The main cause of muscle strain is usually because of a pulled muscle. When the muscles are stretched excessively, making the muscles torn causing immense pain. To prevent this, warm up your muscles all the time and try to stay physically active.
Levels Of Muscle Strain
Minor muscle strains have a shorter recovery time and do not cause damage or serious injury. Home remedies such as ice packs and anti-inflammatory medication can solve the problem right away. However, severe cases of pulled muscle lead to serious complications making the body part to function improperly. These cases will require longer recovery time and will need immediate medical attention.
- 1st level. Considered as mild muscle strain, this level has a minimal number of muscle fibers that are extended. This causes no damage to the muscle but will eventually bring up pain for a few minutes and could last for a week.
- 2nd level. This level is also known as the moderate strain where a larger amount of muscles are torn causing immense pain. This is the level where bruising and pulled muscle-weakening occurs. Usually, this strain can last for up to a week or more.
- 3rd level. The worst level of muscle strain is when the muscles are totally stretched causing a noticeable impact as the pulled muscle gets ripped off. This level is already considered a serious injury as it removes the function of the pulled muscle. Medical attention is needed when this level of muscle strain takes place. 3rd level strain could last for a month depending on the seriousness of the injury.
Signs And Symptoms
The pain caused by muscle strain is hard to ignore, it will make itself too noticeable and you will not be able to hide how the pain affects you. Below are some of the symptoms alongside pain;
- Discomfort due to soreness
- Restricted movements
- Local bleeding
- Entangled sensation
- Hard muscles
- Weak muscles
Mild cases of pulled muscle can feel quite firm but still flexible enough to move. Severe cases, on the other hand, restricts the movement of the injured person and cause them intolerable sting.
Muscle Strain Causes
A sudden muscle strain occurs due to several reasons, it’s when your muscles are pulled and stretched out of nowhere. Pulled muscle takes place as a result of;
- Lack of warm-up prior to engaging in physical activity. Warming up is an essential part of the exercise. It prevents injuries and prepares the body for what’s to come. Save some time prior to exercise to do some stretching.
- Poor conditioning in athletes. Athletes need to go through extensive training and extreme physical activities to avoid injuries. Poorly conditioned athletes are more likely to experience muscle strain. Participating in a game physically unprepared will eventually result in an unexpected pulled muscle.
- Decreased flexibility. We tend to lose our ability to be as flexible as we age. People who are not physically active are less flexible than those who are actively moving every day. Low flexibility causes abnormal stress on tissues resulting in muscle strain.
- Muscle tiredness and overuse. Muscle strains occur due to the extreme use of the muscles as well. Not giving your body enough time to rest and relax the joints and muscles will eventually end up in body overexertion and muscle strains.
Some of the minor causes of muscle strain also include;
- Losing balance
- Throwing with effort
- The sudden lifting of something heavy or lifting in an incorrect position
Minor strain muscles can be treated with simple home remedies and first-aid. You are only going to need basic things in order to lessen the pain caused by a muscle strain.
After the injury, promptly apply ice on the impacted area. The cold will help in minimizing the swelling. Just wrap a towel around a pack of ice and gently place it on top of the pulled muscle for at least half an hour. Do this method frequently every day until the swelling subsides.
If ice is not available as of the moment, you may also opt to use elastic bondages. Wrap it around the affected area without overdoing it until the swelling is no longer bothersome.
Raise the injured area and don’t let it stay laying down for too long. Lastly, rest for a day or two and let your muscles relax and regain their strength. Movements will only worsen the pain. After the resting period, slowly move your pulled muscles again after 2 days.
You can also buy over the counter anti-inflammatory medicines to aid the increasing pain and swelling.
Muscle Strain Prevention
Muscle strains can be prevented by simply performing basic physical activities every day. Knowing the precautionary factors will greatly help in decreasing the risk of pulled muscles.
- Do not stay idle for too long. Sitting and not making any movements for a long period of time weakens the muscle. If your job requires you to sit all day long, you may opt to stand up, stretch and move your legs for a minute or 2 every half hour, support your body by using a back pillow, and a chair that has back support features.
- Watch your posture. Stay aware of how your back, shoulders, hips, and chest looks. Keeping a good posture will reduce the risk of muscle strain on all parts of the body.
- Be careful in lifting heavy things. Proper posture plays a vital role even when lifting things. In doing so, keep your upper body straight and put pressure on your legs while holding the object close to you. The sudden lifting of heavy materials such as boxes, appliances, and the likes can stretch the muscles.
- Make stretching and warming up a part of your daily habit. This is the most effective way to prevent muscle strains.
- Stay physically active. Exercises and workouts can strengthen the muscles decreasing the risk of muscle strains. Not only that, but it is also a good way to stay physically and mentally healthy.