Pulled a Muscle? Try These 4 Tips for a Quicker Recovery

Apr 03, 2017
Tagged with: Pulled a Muscle? Try These 4 Tips for a Quicker Recovery

Exercise can be beneficial to many different aspects of your health and well-being—but it’s also easy to overdo things and injure yourself in the process. Even the best athletes often suffer from common injuries, especially when they’re pushing themselves to the limit and training for demanding events. One of the most common injuries that can occur in almost any activity is a “pulled” or strained muscle. This is actually a bit of a misnomer, since the terms refer to a torn muscle. These injuries are not only painful, they can put you out of commission for weeks or months, depending on the degree of the sprain. If you’ve pulled a muscle try these 4 tips for recovery so you can be back in the gym with your health and wellness apps and crunches sooner rather than later.

1. Put up your feet, and grab an ice pack

Elevating your injured muscle will help reduce inflammation and make it easier to rest the affected area. Prop the injury up above heart level to help reduce fluid buildup and inflammation. Icing the injury will help ease pain and reduce inflammation further—cover the ice pack, frozen vegetables, or ice cubes in a bag with a towel to avoid injury to the skin, and ice 15-20 minutes every hour or two, at least during the first 24 hours while you are awake.

2. Compress it

Compression is a natural way to fight swelling that occurs after injury. Try to compress the area as soon as possible after the strain. You can use an ACE bandage, compression garment, or sleeve to accomplish this.

3. Muscle through the pain

Muscle strains are uncomfortable, but sometimes it’s best to avoid using painkillers if you want to recover quickly and you can stand it. Anti-inflammatory medications can interfere with normal healing processes, and might make the pulled muscle heal more slowly. If you are in enough pain that you absolutely need painkillers, you should arrange to see your doctor.

4. Leave it alone—and see a doctor if necessary

Don’t stretch your muscle or put unnecessary pressure on it as it heals. Most people want to avoid heading to the doctor’s office if they can help it, and because pulled muscles are common, most people don’t think they need the help of a doctor or nurse. While mild pulls may not need professional attention, it is always better to be safe than sorry. If your symptoms persist after a week or two, or you notice bruising, it’s best to head in right away. And if you suspect a severe pull? Don’t hesitate to make an appointment.

Don’t Come Back Too Quickly

Though these tips can sometimes help speed recovery, the fact of the matter is that a torn muscle needs time to heal—more time for more severe tears. If you’re anxious to stay in shape, you’re probably ready to head back to the gym as soon as your muscle starts feeling a bit better. However, going back to your normal exercise routine too soon can cause even more damage. Start slow, and make sure your body can tolerate the activity before you resume your routines. Don’t cause further injury by doing too much too soon—rest up, and give your muscles adequate time to heal!

Author: Sarah Daren