Causes of muscle strain and their treatment
Muscle strains are an absolute nightmare for anyone who trains hard consistently. They restrict movement in the affected muscle groups and can be very painful. A muscle strain usually occurs when the fibrous tissue that connects muscles gets injured. This injury can be minor or major, depending upon the severity of the damage. However, before exploring more, it is essential to understand the causes of muscle strain.
Causes of muscle strains
The biggest cause of muscle strain: failure to warm up your body
Not warming up before exercise is one of the biggest causes of muscle strains and injuries. Warming up your muscles before intense physical activity makes them more flexible and efficient during your actual workout. It also makes your muscles more durable while reducing the threat of injuries. An ideal warm-up session should include cardio exercises, stretching and light reps of your actual workout.
Poor technique leads to poor mechanics, which can result in unbearable stress on the muscle. Working a muscle repetitively the wrong way makes the muscle tissue more prone to injury and strains. The best practice is to perform your reps with the correct form. Also, increase your training intensity gradually. A sudden increase in your training volume can stretch your muscles beyond their limits and damage them.
Muscle fatigue is the most common symptom one experiences before a muscle strain. Studies have proven a strong correlation between them. If you ever experience muscle cramps or localized pain, it is better to call it a day. Apart from leading to muscle strains, muscle fatigue also decreases your muscle’s ability to perform over time.
Not taking enough rest
Not taking rest during intense training can also result in muscle strain. Working a muscle repetitively creates microscopic tears in the tissue, which requires time to heal. And, if you don’t take rest, there are chances that you might tear a muscle due to extra mechanical stress. Therefore, it is important to train smart and take rest during your workouts.
Symptoms of muscle strains
Before experiencing a muscle strain, there are some symptoms that you might feel. And, if you act timely, there’s a good chance that you might be able to dodge muscle strains. These are some of the most common ones:
- Muscle spasms
- Limited range of movement
- Weakness in muscle
- Sudden pain
Treatment of muscle strain
Taking precautions and training smartly will reduce your chances of catching a strain significantly. However, if you still somehow become a victim, here’s how you can quickly heal your strained muscles.
- Apply ice packs on the affected muscles. Refrain from applying ice directly as it can be harmful to your skin.
- Give rest to your muscles so that the body repairs the damaged fibers.
- Apply some compression by wearing an elastic bandage.
- Elevate the strained muscle to improve blood flow.
Please note that this treatment is only applicable on mild muscle strains.
What causes muscle strain in the back?
Lower-back strains are probably the most common muscle strains. Lower back muscles are naturally a strong group of muscles. However, incorrect posture and improper lifting techniques weaken these muscles over time. The correct technique to lift weights from the ground is always by bending your knees like when you squat. Also, one of the best ways to protect you back from strains is to stretch before and after your workout. Stretching also protects from back pumps.
If you want to know more about back pumps, kindly refer to our dedicated blog on back pumps.
Can I work out during muscle strain?
If you work out a strained muscle, it can damage the muscle even further. Also, it can wound small blood vessels resulting in internal bleeding. Plus, regardless of the damage to the muscle, working a strained muscle can lead to excruciating pain. The best practice is to let your muscles heal. And on your road to recovery, slowly and gradually increase the workload of your strained muscle.
How long does a muscle strain last?
The term a muscle strain might last depends upon the severity of the strain. Generally, a mild strain takes 3-6 weeks to heal with basic home care and self-treatment. In contrast, a more severe strain might require months. Also, if the strain is more serious, it might require physical therapy or surgery as well.
To conclude, taking precautions can minimize the risk of muscle strains but cannot entirely eliminate them. Sometimes, you can injure yourself even after taking all the necessary precautions. In that case, consult your doctor and follow the treatment mentioned. Lastly, it’s important to stay patient while recovering. Returning to your training routine prematurely can be risky and might put you out for an even longer period than before.