The most common source of muscle pain is a muscle strain. You may also see then referred to as muscle tears. Muscle strains do vary in severity from mild to severe and ultimately, complete rupture.

What is a Muscle Strain?

A muscle can strain or tear. The most common muscle strains occur at high speed when your muscles are overloaded. The most common high speed muscle injuries occur in your hamstrings, thigh (quadriceps), calf, back and biceps. However, you can also suffer a fatigue related muscle strain from sustained postures. Back muscle strain, shoulder and neck muscle strains are often postural fatigue related muscle strains.
Muscle strains range from a mild muscle strain (grade one), moderate muscle strain (grade two) to a severe muscle strain or complete muscle rupture (grade three).
Muscle strain treatment options vary depending on the severity of your muscle strain or tear.  Read more!

What are the Characteristics of a Muscle Strain?

Muscle strains have the following symptoms:

  • Muscle tightness
  • Bruising
  • Weakness
  • Inability to fully stretch your injured muscle

The most severe the muscle strain obviously has more significant symptoms.

What’s the Best Treatment for a Muscle Strain?

Until you’ve been accurately diagnosed with a muscle strain, use the following guidelines:

  • Ice and a compression bandage.
  • Elevate the injured region if it is swollen.
  • If it’s painful to walk you should be using crutches.
  • Reduce your training to a level where you feel no pain.
  • Seek the advice of your physiotherapist.

How to Return to Sport after a Muscle Strain

Returning to sport can be easy or complicated depending on the muscle affected. Some muscle tears such as hamstrings are notoriously difficult to get right.
Ideally you should undertake:

  • an physiotherapist assessment of your muscle function, core stability and biomechanics to avoid injury recurrence.
  • a remedial or sports style massage to ensure that any scar tissue doesn’t clump.
  • a muscle rehabilitation program that incorporates components of strength, endurance, flexibility and speed that is specific to your chosen sport.
  • a neural tissue dynamics assessment to ensure that no nerve tissue has become entrapped in the scar tissue.
  • application of a heat retainer to the area when you return to sport.
  • application ice therapy after any training sessions.

If you suffer a muscle strain which fails to respond after a few days or continues to niggle, please contact your physiotherapist.