Muscle Strain

Understanding Muscle Strains

Muscle strain is a common injury amongst active individuals and is defined as an over-stretching or tearing of muscle fibers. When someone suffers from a muscle strain, it is usually classified as either a Grade 1, 2, or 3 strain. A Grade 1 strain is a mild injury, meaning that some fibers have been stretched and there is mild pain. A Grade 2 strain is a more significant injury, meaning that a large number of muscle fibers have been stretched or partially torn and there is moderate pain and swelling. A Grade 3 strain is a severe injury, meaning that the muscle has been completely ruptured and there is extreme pain and swelling.

Most sports-related muscle strains are classified as Grade 1 or 2 and generally heal with rest and treatment within 7-10 days. Grade 3 muscle strains, however, require medical attention and may take up to 6 weeks before a full recovery is achieved.

What Causes Muscle Strains?

Generally, muscle strains occur when a muscle is stretched too far or is suddenly contracted too quickly. Strains can also occur if a muscle is overloaded due to repetitive activities or overworking.

Common Symptoms of a Muscle Strain

  • Pain that increases with activity
  • Muscle spasms
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Limited mobility of the muscle

Treatment & Prevention

Rest is generally the best form of treatment for muscle strain, as it allows the muscle time to heal. Additionally, applying ice several times a day along with compression can help reduce swelling and pain. Ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be taken to further reduce pain and inflammation.

When it comes to prevention, proper stretching before and after intense physical activity is key. Also, gradually increasing the intensity of physical activity and avoiding activities that require repetitive movements can help reduce the risk of muscle strain.