What is a muscle strain?
A muscle strain refers to overstretched, torn or pulled muscles. It can occur anywhere on the body, with typical muscles being the neck, lower back and hamstring. Muscle strains typically cause pain, while also inhibiting movement in the affected area of the body.
Among the symptoms of muscle strains are: pain when an injury occurs; inhibited movement; bruising; soreness; weakness; muscle spasms; and stiffness. While mild strains may not prevent a person from going about his or her everyday activities, more severe muscle strains can result in inhibited movement and pain for a period which could last up to several months.
Muscle strains can vary between moderate strains which can be self-treated without the help of a medical professional, and severe tears which could necessitate medical treatment.
What causes muscle strains?
Causes of acute muscle strains, which are the result of injuries, can be due to: fatigue; bad conditioning; neglecting to warm up before physical exercise; and bad flexibility. These injuries could occur when lifting something heavy, falling, running or jumping. It is understood that acute muscle strains are more common during cold weather, as in lower temperatures the muscles are stiffer.
Causes of chronic muscle strains, from repetitive movements, can be due to: bad posture; positioning the neck or back at an awkward angle for long periods; and sports such as golf, tennis, or basketball.
Treatment options for muscle strain
Osteopathy is recognised as one of the best treatment routes for a muscle strain. The manipulations which are performed by osteopaths can focus on improving blood flow to the area of the body affected by a muscle strain. This can help to speed up the healing process and ease muscle tension in the targeted area.
Especially where the occurrence of injuries are concerned, physiotherapists are able to evaluate the extent of a muscle strain via a physical examination. They can then go about designing a treatment plan which covers both the acute stage of the muscle strain and recovery over the long run. Treatments offered by a physio for muscle strain can include: heat and ice; stretching; therapeutic taping; and therapeutic modalities.