How to Treat a Pulled Muscle

By Mike Camunas

A pulled muscle is a common injury that happens in sports, but also in everyday life. It occurs when the muscle fiber begins to tear and is stretched too far. There are three grades of pulled muscles: the first may just be mild discomfort, the second will be moderate and limit activities and the third will be serve, which could include spasms, bruising and swelling. Each can be treated fairly easily and at home. However, it's important to take the time to tend to each properly.

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy
Step 1
Take time to rest. Depending on the injury, the muscle tissue needs time to heal itself, so don't overexert it. Time of rest may range from three days to a week. Staying completely immobile won't be necessary, just take it easy on the pulled muscle or it will result in set backs.
Step 2
Use ice. Ice is an effective way to treat the injured area, especially to reduce any swelling that may have occurred. The ice can be wrapped in a washcloth or placed in a plastic bag and then applied to the area. Ice should not be applied more than 15 minutes at a time.
Step 3
Turn up the heat. Depending on the injury and the person, heat may be more helpful in treating the pull. Muscles usually sustain fewer injuries with the right temperature. Use a heating pad on the injury, but do not leave on more than a half hour at a time and be careful not to overheat the injury, that will re-aggravate the injury.
Step 4
Take over-the-counter pain medication. Generally this will be anything that helps dull the pain and treat muscles. Consult a doctor or pharmacist for potential side effects or before taking anything.
Step 5
Stretch the pulled muscle. It should be slow going, but between either using heat or ice on the pull, there should be some stretching to help the muscle recover and stay loose. Stretching during treatment will make the muscle stronger and more flexible. It will be less likely to be injured again in the future.

Tips & Warnings

Avoid strenuous workouts. These will not give the muscle, or any muscle, the recovery time needed. Establish the proper blood flow before asking your muscles to work hard. A heating pad is not the only way to keep the muscles warmed. A spa with jets could do the trick, as well a hot shower.
Avoid strenuous workouts. These will not give the muscle, or any muscle, the recovery time needed.
Establish the proper blood flow before asking your muscles to work hard.
A heating pad is not the only way to keep the muscles warmed. A spa with jets could do the trick, as well a hot shower.
The heating pad could result in overheating, not only of itself, but of you muscles. Use a light or mild heat when applying. Be careful not to completely immobilize the muscle. It could lead to stiffness or re-injury.
The heating pad could result in overheating, not only of itself, but of you muscles. Use a light or mild heat when applying.
Be careful not to completely immobilize the muscle. It could lead to stiffness or re-injury.

About The Author

Mike Camunas is also reporter for the St. Petersburg Times, covering local golf in the Tampa Bay area, from events to golfers hitting hole in ones, to even covering the professional events that hit town. He has been playing golf for about 11 years and has not seen his handicap lower. Maybe one day, but he'll stick to his day job for now.

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