There are over 1,000 muscles in our body. Out of those, there’s 700 skeletal muscles that we have names for, and about 400 less popular muscles that most don’t know or care about. Skeletal or voluntary muscles are attached to our bones and are mainly used for movement. In this guide you’ll find how to minimize the risk of injuring these muscles and learn what to do in case you strain them.
Common reasons for pulled or overstretched muscles
Exercising without warming up – When muscles are not warmed up prior to a vigorous workout/exercise regime, we increase the risk of injuring them by pulling or straining our muscles. Our limbs too can experience strain when we suddenly try to jump or do a swift movement. Lifting heavyweights without any prior preparation can also cause a decrease to our range of motion in those muscle groups. This is why professional trainers always recommend stretching before exercising/working out!
Sudden movements of rigid muscles – Our muscles often lose flexibility as we age. This rigidity is also seen in people who do not workout regularly or live an in-active lifestyle without moving much. Whenever these people try to make sudden movements, their muscles are likely to be strained.
Too much physical work or over-working tired muscles – It’s not smart to workout too vigorously beyond the natural capacity of your body. When we overwork our muscles, they become too tired and the muscle fibers become weaker and more likely to be strained.
Incorrect form or body movements – Not having a proper form or posture while lifting weights/exercising can certainly damage our muscles and cause strain. If a person tries to lift weights in spite of being in an awkward position, he may end up in straining his muscles.
Accidents – When we accidentally slip and fall, we may damage our muscles and may even severely injure them depending on the fall. We can’t always be too careful, accidents do happen after all!
Negative effects of muscle strain on our regular life
When we pull a muscle or overstretch/strain it, we experience immense pain on that part of our body. Even if the pain is acute and tolerable, we might find it difficult to sleep well at night, which can itself have further adverse effect on our health.
A strained back or limb muscle can make it very difficult for us to move around… In case of severe pain, we may need to stay in and skip work which can affect our ability to do our job.
Working out at the gym and exercising too will have to stop or cut-down at best since our muscle movement is so negatively affected by such strain. This can cause us to lose momentum at the gym and may even set us back in our ability to maintain our shape.
Some of us may even find it difficult to eat due to a lack of appetite, leading to feeling weak, and further prolonging our ability to recover.
Last but not least, our mental health can also be negatively affected since our day-to-day schedule will change and we no longer can socialize with ease.
Home remedies to treat muscle strain
Ice packs – The cold temperature of ice can decrease the inflammation and swelling of strained muscles. Apply ice packs over the affected muscles to lessen the pain.
Rest – The affected body part should not be moved. Rest is a key part of recovery for strained muscles. Any activity of these muscles can further damage the fibers and increase your pain.
Compressed wrap – The strained muscles can be lightly wrapped with braces to prevent the muscles from further movements. However, it’s best to consult with your doctor or a specialist since wrapping it too tight can actually prevent blood circulation and end up having a negative effect.
Raised position – You can get some relief by raising the affected body part above the level of the heart while resting on a comfortable surface (like your bed). While you can’t always be laying down, this is something that can be done while sleeping at night.
Pain relief medicines – There are many over-the-counter medications available at medical stores that can reduce the pain of strained muscles. Aspirin and Ibuprofen are non-steroid medicines that can lessening inflammation and reduce pain.
This is done by standing in a super cold cryosauna for three minutes, where the temperature drops below 200 degrees Fahrenheit. There are many benefits of doing cryotherapy. Head over to our blog to learn more.
Compression therapy helps athletes and others who are in need of treating strained muscles. It is a clinical method to recover from the pain and inflammation caused by muscle strain.
An Electrical Muscle Stimulation device is used to emit electrical current to stimulate the strained muscles, resulting in better blood flow, reduced inflammation and better range of motion.
In this treatment, an elastic strip/tape is used to decrease muscle pains and joint inflammations. This elastic tape also improves blood circulation and rearranges the displaced muscle fibers, leading to an increase range of motion in joints and muscles.
Combining recovery modalities
All the advanced recovery modalities mentioned above are meant for the patients of all age groups and can treat all types of muscle injuries. Cryotherapy provides better results than ice compression, decreasing the inflammation of the strained muscles while increasing the body’s metabolism for faster cure. NormaTec compression is a clinically proven method of compressing the injured muscles to recover from the muscle pain, and to re-energize the tired muscle fibers. Kinesiology taping is an effective way of increasing the range of motion of joints while strengthening the muscle fibers. Stim recovery helps prevent further muscle injuries while reducing joint pains and curing muscle damage with electric currents emitting from the Electrical Muscle Stimulation device. All these recovery modalities can be combined for a full recovery of strained and even torn muscles.