Injury Basics 1 – Muscle Strains and how to treat them
Injury Basics – Muscle strain
Injury and how to deal with it
It is likely at some time in our lives we will all get an injury – sprain a joint or strain a muscle. They are painful but mostly transient. They also serve as a reminder to live a little more carefully. Sometimes an injury will recover quickly but more often than not, rapid attention can help your body to heal faster. Following that, proper rehabilitation should prevent further injury or long-term pain.
Muscles and tendons are tissues that can get strained. Muscles create the movement as thousands of fibres inside muscles overlap to create the possibility for muscle shortening in a contraction. Tendons secure the muscles to the bones to provide a strong anchor for movement. Strained or ‘pulled’ muscles happen when we overstretch or overload them. Untrained muscles injure more easily as do muscles pushed beyond their limits or used without being warmed up. Often we feel the pain straight away, but some injuries might take a day or two to surface.
What can you do?
Using an ice pack is often the best thing to do to begin with. Ice applied to an area for short periods (one minute on, one minute off, repeated five or six times) strongly stimulates the circulation, drives blood through the muscles and speeds healing.
After a day or so, if the pain is fading, switch to alternating heat and ice on the strained muscle. A hot water bottle or hot gel pack, followed by an ice pack, applied for one minute each, repeated five or six times will maintain high blood flow. Increasing the blood flow is crucial to healing. It helps to clear away any waste substances from the muscle cells and brings fresh oxygen and nutrients for repair.
You also need to keep moving gently. Resting the muscle is important but it needs to be active and moving to repair properly.
It still hurts!
If the pain hasn’t subsided to almost nothing within two to three days, then it’s time to make an appointment. Don’t just leave it, the injury can continue to cause you pain and may sometimes develop into a chronic condition!
Book an appointment to have one of the team assess and treat the injury. Why live in pain when we can easily fix things for you.
Next time, I’ll give the low-down on joint and ligament sprains.
Stay active, stay safe, love life.