Strains are injuries to the body, often resulting from physical activity. These injuries are common and can range from minor to severe, depending on the incident.
Strains affect muscles or tendons, which connect muscle to bone.
Almost everyone has sore, aching muscles now and then. The most common causes of muscle pain are tension, stress, overuse and minor injuries. This type of pain is usually localized and can develop almost anywhere, affecting just a few muscles or a small part of your body.
Not all muscle strains can be prevented but the chance for them to develop may be reduced by the following measures:
- Stretch daily to avoid injuries
- Stretch every time before exercise
- Establish a warm-up routine prior to engaging in strenuous exercise
- Start an exercise program in consultation with your physician
Muscle pain that occurs during an activity usually signals a "pulled" or strained muscle. These types of injuries usually respond well to R.I.C.E. therapy:
Rest the strained muscle(s). Avoid the activities that caused the strain and any activities that are painful.
Ice your sore muscle(s) by placing an ice pack on the area for 20 minutes every hour while awake. Ice is a very effective anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving agent.
Compression can provide both support and decrease swelling. Wrap a compression bandage around the sore muscle(s) but make sure not to wrap it too tightly as it can cut off blood circulation.
Elevation is also very useful in reducing swelling. Keep the sore muscle(s) elevated when possible and it will go a long way in the healing process. For example, prop up a strained leg muscle while sitting.