It happens. You're working out, plugging away at your workout, and then all of a sudden you feel it. A pinching, pulling pain in whatever body part you were just working.
You've pulled a muscle.
This painful experience is your body's way of telling you you may have been doing too much too soon. Now that you're in pain, what do you do to treat it?
What causes a pulled muscle
A pulled muscle, also known as a muscle strain, happens when a muscle has been overstretched or torn. Pulled muscles don't discriminate when it comes to age or fitness levels either.
Pulled muscles can be caused by lifting something that's too heavy, lifting improperly, skipping your warm-up before your workout, not stretching after a workout, overusing that muscle, or poor posture.
Signs of a pulled muscle
The most common areas to pull muscles are your hamstrings, lower back, shoulders, and neck.
Here are some signs you may have pulled a muscle:
-Sudden pain when using that muscle
-Bruising, swelling, or redness at the site
-Difficulty using that muscle
-Pain when the muscle is at rest
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How to treat a pulled muscle
If you're dealing with severe pain it's best to get checked out by a doctor to give you a proper diagnosis. If your pain is mild you'll be able to treat the injury at home.
Try these at-home treatments to help you heal the affected muscle:
-Rest: Rest the muscle for a couple of days. If you're feeling better by then you should be able to do some light movement.
-Ice: Apply ice to the affected area for 20 minutes per hour of the day. Always make sure to wrap ice or icepacks in some sort of towel or wrap, and never apply directly to your skin.
-Compression: Wrap the muscle with an elastic bandage to help bring down any swelling. Don't wrap it too tight. This could cut off circulation to the affected muscle.
-Elevation: Raise the injured muscle above your heart if it isn't already.
-Heat: Heat the area after 2-3 days of icing. This will increase circulation to the area and will speed up healing.
Next blog post: Why strong glutes are important.
Make sure to see your doctor if you're worried about the severity of the pull. You can never go wrong with a proper diagnosis!
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