It’s wonderful that more people are staying active through sports and other vigorous activities like running 26-mile marathons. But overactivity or a misstep can easily lead to muscle injuries. If you’re feeling unusual muscle pain and think you may have a torn muscle, what can you do to treat it?
What Does it Mean to Have a Torn Muscle?
A torn muscle is also known as a pulled muscle. This means there is a partial or full rupture of muscle fibers. A torn muscle can limit how much you move it. You can pull a muscle when you’ve overstretched or strained it due to improper positioning, overexertion, misuse, or poor posture. Pulled muscles happen most commonly in the neck, lower back, shoulder, and hamstring area.
What Do You Do if You Tore a Muscle?
Rest: Avoid using the injured muscle for a few days, whenever possible, especially if you continue to feel pain when moving it. When the pain subsides, start using the muscle carefully and slowly to prevent it from becoming too weak.
Ice: To reduce swelling, apply an ice packet to the injured muscle for about 20 minutes at a time. Throughout the day of the injury, repeat the icing process every hour. After the first day, continue to apply ice about every four hours or so for the next few days.
Compression: Wrap the injured area with an elastic bandage until swelling comes down, but make sure not to wrap it too tightly.
Elevate: Keep your injured muscle raised above your heart whenever possible. See here.
See a doctor if you’re experiencing severe pain or pain that won’t go away. For pain relief and to keep swelling down, you can try some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). You can also try applying heat to the muscle to promote blood circulation in the injured area and help speed up the healing process.