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Avoid Overexertion of a Pulled Muscle

Acknowledgment: Marathon Training Academy

Don’t allow a strain to escalate into an injury.

Irrespective of size, gender, or age, we have all experienced this sensation at some point in our lives. A muscle strain, also known as a pulled muscle, occurs when a muscle is ripped or stretched beyond its capacity. This often transpires when one is fatigued, overworked, or misuses a muscle. Pulled muscles can manifest in any muscle throughout your body, but they are most prevalent in the lower back, shoulder, neck, and hamstring muscles.

Overexerting or straining your muscles can lead to significant discomfort and hinder movement in that muscle group. Fortunately, mild to moderate strains can usually be managed at home with a combination of cold and warm compresses along with non-prescription anti-inflammatory medications.

Symptoms of a pulled muscle may include a sudden onset of pain, restricted movement in a specific muscle region, swelling, tenderness, a sensation of being “knotted”, rigidity, and/or discoloration or bruising.

In cases of mild to moderate strains, the affected muscles may feel marginally rigid and resistant. Conversely, in severe strains, the muscles may feel severely torn, resulting in intense pain and immobility. While mild strains typically subside within a few days to a couple of weeks, severe strains may necessitate a longer recovery period and professional medical intervention.

Common causes of muscle strains or pulls include:

  • Inadequate warm-up prior to engaging in physical activity
  • Restricted flexibility
  • Poor physical conditioning
  • Exhaustion and pushing oneself too hard

Optimal rest is the key remedy for a pulled muscle, but applying a cold pack to the affected muscle area and utilizing compression tape can aid in reducing swelling and alleviating pain. Elevating the injured muscle above the heart level can also be beneficial. Numerous widely available non-prescription anti-inflammatory medications are designed to mitigate pain and swelling. It is essential to apply heat to the injured muscle area a few times daily to enhance blood circulation and facilitate healing. Above all, remember to stretch before workouts and even in the mornings to proactively prevent muscle strains in the future.

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