(Pulled Muscle; Strain, Muscle)
|Muscles of the Back|
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- Muscle may not be ready for sudden stress
- Tension may be too much for the muscle to bear (such as, lifting a weight that is too heavy for you)
- Muscle is used too much on a certain day
- Athletic activities, especially those with running and jumping
- Tight muscles
- Cold weather
Strain While Performing an Athletic or Physical Activity
Strain from an Accumulation of Stress
- Tenderness directly over the muscle
- Pain when contracting the muscle particularly against resistance
- MRI scan—a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body (This is uncommon for most people. Usually this is done with college or professional athletes to determine when they will return to their sport.)
- Ultrasound—a test that uses sound waves to examine the body
- CT scan—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to take pictures of structures inside the body
- Rest—Do not do activities that cause pain. If normal walking hurts, shorten your stride. Do not play sports until the pain is gone.
- Ice—Apply cold to the injured area for 15-20 minutes, four times a day for several days after the injury. Do not apply the cold directly to the skin.
- Compression and elevation—This can decrease swelling.
- Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and topical pain medicines (such as, creams, patches) applied to the skin—These medicines can also mask symptoms. If you still have muscle tenderness while taking these drugs, do not return to physical activity and check with your doctor.
- Heat—Use heat only when you are returning to activity. Then use it before stretching or getting ready to exercise.
- Stretching—When the acute pain is gone, start gentle stretching. Stay within pain limits. Hold each stretch about 10 seconds and repeat six times. Repeat stretching four times a day.
- Strengthening—When a muscle is injured, it becomes weaker because it is not used. You must gradually regain strength. It is best to do this under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
- Keep your muscles strong so they can absorb the energy of sudden stressful activities.
- After a short warm-up period, stretch out tight muscles, especially previously injured ones.
- Learn the proper technique for athletic activities. This will decrease muscle stress.
- Stop when you are tired. Tired muscles do not function well. They do not react properly to sudden stress.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.aaos.org
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Healthy Living Unit http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Counsel P, Breidahl W. Muscle injuries of the lower leg. Semin Musculoskelet Radiol. 2010 Jun;14(2):162-175.
Exerc Spotr Sci Rev. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins; 2000.
Orchard J, Best TM, et al. Return to play following muscle strains. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. 2005 Nov;15(6):436-41.
Patient education. The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine website. Available at: http://www.sportsmed.org/Patient/Intro. Accessed May 30, 2008.
Zeni A, Morfe EG. Frontera: Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 1st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Hanley and Belfus; 2002; chap 62.
1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Massey T, Derry S, Moore R, McQuay H. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.
- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/92/2012 -