A muscle strain doesn’t have to be the end of your workout. With the next tips, you can speed up muscle recovery and get back on track asap.
It’s essential to be active in life, and that includes exercise. If we listen to our bodies, we know how far to push them and when to rest. Unfortunately, we can go too far and cause a pulled muscle.
A muscle strain is when you put undue pressure on your muscles with exercise, playing sports, or even everyday tasks you do throughout the day.
This overuse can cause stretching or tearing of the muscle fibers and tendons. The pain is usually immediate, and you may feel a popping sound that can affect your ability to walk or even cause a fever.
Muscle damage starts with a mild strain that will cause pain, which goes away in a day or two. You should have full strength and mobility.
If it escalates, moderate strain tears half the muscle fibers with acute pain and swelling. You will experience a decrease in muscle strength.
In the most severe cases, a major strain with all the muscle fibers tearing or the tendon separating, causing severe pain and swelling. You will lose all ability to use the muscle.
To avoid this, you should have a strained muscle looked at by a professional chiropractor.
How To Speed Up Muscle Recovery
There are ways to speed up your recovery as well. Here are some techniques on how to speed up your muscle strain recovery:
1. Protect Your Muscles
You don’t want to injure the muscle any further. This means you should not engage the muscle, so don’t bear any weight on it.
Using crutches, a sling, or a brace will immobilize the injured area and protect it. Restricting movement, especially at the beginning, allows your body to reduce inflammation and make repairs.
2. Get Lots Of Rest
Your body needs time to heal. Sleep is important for recovery from a muscle strain, but rest includes taking pressure off the injury.
Avoiding any activities that put stress on the muscle must be avoided, although some movement is good.
To speed up muscle recovery, you can practice a gentle range of motion movements of the joints and muscles. Give yourself a break from heavy activities and let your body take over the healing process.
3. Apply Ice
Cryotherapy is important for bringing down swelling and lessening pain.
You can use ice packs on the affected area but make sure to protect the skin from direct contact. Go for 15 minutes every 1-2 hours throughout the day. This works well and is anti-inflammatory as well as a pain reliever.
A frozen vegetable package works well and is something you probably have in the freezer.
An effective way to treat muscle strains is with compression. This applies pressure to the affected area to help reduce swelling and inflammation. It also helps your body pump away excess fluid to increase the flow of oxygenated blood.
An elastic bandage applies external force and constant pressure on the muscle and directly on the skin, covering the injury and surrounding area.
Make sure it is tight enough for compression but not too restrictive. If the bandage causes tingling or numbness, loosen it up and rewrap it.
Take it off overnight and reapply it in the morning again.
This is an easy way to control the amount of fluid that pools at the injury site. Elevate the injured extremity above the level of your heart.
Laying down in bed works best with a few extra pillows to lift your arm or leg, but you can also set yourself up on a couch or reclining chair. This will help reduce swelling over the first few days.
You can combine these treatments at the same time to maximize your recovery. There are other things you can do for pain and recovery as well.
6. Pain Medicine
If you are experiencing significant pain, try anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and pain.
Consult your doctor as they may also prescribe something stronger in the short term.
Massage therapy can be of great help. Getting massage treatment immediately after an injury dramatically speeds up the recovery of strained muscles.
If it is too painful, wait a week or so before starting direct contact with the injury. Massaging the muscles that surround the strain will aid the repair and range of movement.
8. Kinesiology tapes
Athletic or kinesiology tapes have experienced a surge in popularity, especially within the athletic community. These sticky adhesive strips alleviate pain and discomfort in various body areas.
Some manufacturers have even begun incorporating herbs into the tape to enhance its efficacy.
It is recommended to apply the tape approximately 30-60 minutes prior to engaging in physical activity or exercise, as during that time, the tape interacts harmoniously with the skin, potentially offering pain relief and support during workouts.
You don’t want to stay immobilized too long. Go see a physiotherapist to get you moving safely without the fear of re-injury.
They can work on your movement and stretching. Plus, they will give you exercises to practice outside of the office, which strengthen the supporting muscle groups around the strain.
Having a muscle strain doesn’t spell the end of your favorite activities. With proper care and proven methods, you can speed up muscle recovery and get out there again at 100%.