Quick Guide: What are muscle strains and how we treat it!
Updated: Mar 10
A muscle strain or commonly called a “pulled muscle” is damage that occurs to the muscle fibres when they are over stretched.
This can happen from a number of reasons, the most common involving excessive dynamic loads during movements and usually are when we overexert our bodies during a particular activity or exercise.
There are 3 grades to muscle strains:
Minimal damage, only a small number or portion of fibres are involved. There is minimal swelling, pain or weakness and little to no range of motion (ROM) loss. These are the most simple little “niggles” we might get from time to time which will still need some TLC. Simple first aid protocol of Ice, Compression and Elevation with gentle massage will help ease any discomfort you might have.
Most simple grade 1 muscle strains only take a few days to a week or two to get back to 100%.
A strain of this level is a significant tear through the muscle. Not quiet a full rupture of a muscle, but these injuries are significant if not managed quickly and appropriately. Grade two strains can lead to lots of pain, loss of strength and swelling and bruising. Often people who have had a rupture say a grade 2 tear is more painful, mainly due to parts of the muscle still being in use. To help manage a grade 2 strain, we start with simple RICER first aid for the initial bruising and swelling. We then use a host of manual techniques such as; massage, dry needling, IASTM, muscle facilitation, joint mobilisation and adjustments to the surrounding areas affected. Early ROM exercises and simple muscle activation are vital in the early rehab stages, to improve blood flow and keep mobile before starting a specialised rehab program to work on the entire biomechanical chain involved.
A complete muscle tear, or grade 3 strain can be quiet disabling and is often associated with a “POP” or sensation of the muscle giving way. A tear of this size if often very noticeable and can cause significant pain, swelling, and bruising. As a complete rupture, they can take a long time to rehab. Usually you will need to get an ultrasound or more closely an MRI to help diagnose the extent of the injury. In some severe cases an orthopaedic consult with a surgeon may also be necessary. Considering the extent of dysfunction rehab pre and post surgery is key for individuals especially athletes who wish to return to sport.
The first step with any treatment is to get an accurate diagnosis! If you have any questions about an injury you may have get in contact with us today!