Your in the middle of your backswing and you feel a twinge in your shoulder, your elbow, your forearm or your hamstring. You've got a pulled muscle and this round is about to go downhill fast. Pulled muscles, also known as muscles strains or muscle tears, occur when tendons and muscle are stretched too far, or if they quite literally tear. How you treat the injury depends on the severity of the pull, but most of the time they can be treated at home. It's important to note that when you pull a muscle, you should begin treating the injury as soon as possible.
Rest the Muscle
This the first line of defense against further injury and the best remedy for a quick healing. If you stop using the affected muscle immediately after pulling it, you remove any danger that you'll do more damage. According to Doctor Carol Otis, continuing to play or exercise with a pulled muscle will increase the amount of bleeding and damage to the muscle. Only by resting the muscle will you give it time to rebuild.
Medicate the Muscle
Muscle pulls can be painful; the worse the pull the more pain involved. You can take away some of the pain with popular over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium or good old aspirin. A pain medication like acetaminophen will deaden the nerve cells so you don't feel the pain as much. Ibuprofen and naproxen sodium will reduce the inflammation and swelling around the muscle tissue.
Ice the Muscle
Apply an ice pack to the affected muscle as soon as possible. This might mean going in the clubhouse and getting some ice from behind the bar. Whatever it takes to get the muscle cooled down, slow the blood flow and reduce an inflammation that the pull may have caused will help minimize damage. You should ice the muscle for 15 to 20 minutes and then continue to apply ice as needed to soothe pain and reduce swelling. After the first 72 hours you can alternate between icing it and putting a heat pad on it. Just don't apply heat to the injury before that. Heating will increase blood flow to the injury and could result in further damage to the muscle.
Elevate the Muscle
Doctor Otis advises that you elevate the muscle above the level of the heart if you go to lay down. This will effectively slow the amount of blood getting to the muscle, soothe the pain and prevent further damage.
See a Doctor
That muscle pull could be a serious tear and if the pain, inflammation and bleeding don't start to improve within the first 72 hours, you should go see a doctor. He may prescribe stronger pain medications, immobilize the muscle with a sling or brace and, in severe cases, could recommend surgery to repair the damage.