Symptoms of a muscle tear include sudden and often acute pain. Some patients report a popping or snapping sensation. Other symptoms include bruising, swelling and tenderness.
Doctors grade muscle tears according to their severity. Grade 1 is stretching of the muscle with some microtearing. Grade 2 is partial tearing. Grade 3 is complete rupture of muscle fibers.
A doctor will use your history and a physical examination to diagnose a muscle tear. In more severe cases, the doctor may order an MRI test to guide treatment or rule out other injuries.
Treatment typically entails R.I.C.E.: rest, ice, compression and elevation. You may take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories such as aspirin to reduce pain and swelling. Physical therapy can help you restore strength and flexibility.
A grade 1 muscle strain generally heals in two to three weeks. A grade 2 strain can take up to two months, and a grade 3 strain can take three months or more to heal.
Physicians and athletic trainers recommend a regular stretching routine to keep muscles loose and prevent tears. Poor conditioning and fatigue also contribute to muscle pulls. Exercise regularly in addition to your time on the golf course, and warm up before swinging your club.