A muscle strain, or pulled muscle, occurs when your muscle is overstretched or torn. This usually occurs as a result of fatigue, overuse, or improper use of a muscle. Strains can happen in any muscle, but they’re most common in your lower back, neck, shoulder, and hamstring, which is the muscle behind your thigh.
These strains can cause pain and may limit movement within the affected muscle group. Mild-to-moderate strains can be successfully treated at home with ice, heat, and anti-inflammatory medications. Severe strains or tears may require medical treatment.
You’ll usually feel a muscle strain as it occurs. Symptoms include:
- sudden onset of pain
- limited range of movement
- bruising or discolouration
- a “knotted-up” feeling
- muscle spasms
In a mild sprain, a torn muscle may feel slightly stiff but still flexible enough for use. A severe muscle strain is when the muscle is severely torn. This results in pain and very limited movement.
The symptoms of mild-to-moderate muscle strains usually go away within a few weeks. More severe strains may take months to heal.
An acute muscle strain is when your muscle tears suddenly and unexpectedly. Such tears can occur either from injuries or trauma. This can be due to:
- not warming up properly before physical activity
- poor flexibility
- poor conditioning
- overexertion and fatigue
There is a misconception that only rigorous exercises and workouts of high-intensity cause muscle strains. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, muscle strains can even occur from walking.
An acute strain can happen when you:
- slip or lose your footing
- throw something
- lift something heavy
- lift something while in you’re in an awkward position
Acute muscle strains are also more common in cold weather. This is because muscles are stiffer in lower temperatures. It’s important to take extra time to warm up in these conditions to prevent strains.
Chronic muscle strains are the result of repetitive movement. This can be due to:
- sports like rowing, tennis, golf, or baseball
- holding your back or neck in an awkward position for long periods of time, such as when you work at a desk
- poor posture
Save Yourself from Muscle Pulls and Strains!
Muscle strain (pulled muscle) and muscle pain explained and discussed in great detail, plus every imaginable treatment option.
So what is a muscle strain?
Actually, it’s simple: any torn muscle is called a muscle strain. And this is the same as a “pulled muscle.”
The rest of the Good Information is at this link:
“Strain” is the term given to a full or partial tear of the muscle fibres, muscle fascia (a.k.a. myofascial) or tendons – basically anything to do with the muscular structure.
This is different from a “sprain” which is a tear injury to the ligaments or joint capsules, which are types of tissue different to muscles.
It is also different from a “pulled” or “twinged” muscle, which is a muscle in spasm.
- Tendons attach muscles to bones; a tear injury is called a strain.
- Ligaments attach bones to bones; a tear injury is called a sprain.
Ligaments and Tendons: Collagen-type fibres
Both ligaments and tendons are made up of pretty much the same stuff: very firm collagen-based cord-like structure. They change shape very little as you move since they must stabilise your joints and hold the bones steadily in place. They do not contract and cannot shorten (except over periods of months).
Muscle tissue: Myofibrils
Muscles, on the other hand, are incredibly pliable. They are made from softer, long, string-like cells called myofibrils. They need to flex and move as you do, so they are a lot more floppy. The muscles, not the ligaments or tendons, are what contract and shorten.
Fascia and Myofascia
Fascia wraps around every organ, bone, muscle, and even forms a layer under your skin in the body. You might have heard the term “myofascial.” Myofascia is the word we give only to the fascia that wraps around muscles.
Fascia holds the muscles in a place like a kind of skin. It contains a small amount of contractile tissue (like muscle) but is primarily made out of collagen-like fibres (like ligaments and tendons). But fascia is very thin and flat instead of cord-like.
This thinness and flatness mean it can bend, warp, and flex along with the muscles it wraps around, but still holds a shape to which it returns. In this way, it takes the best parts of collagen and muscle tissue – strength and flexibility – and combines them.
Fascia also contains a LOT of sensory nerve endings, including pain receptors. In fact, your fascia contains more pain receptors than the muscle it wraps around! This makes it a sensory organ.
It is fascia that gives a muscle its shape. It is also fascia that holds a muscle together when it contracts with a lot of force. This stops the muscle from bursting out all over the place in a mess when it contracts.
When we talk about a “muscle,” we combine and include in that definition the muscle cells, the myofascial, and the tendon together. Any or all of these tissues can be injured or torn in a strain injury.
A strain injury involves tearing to some or all of the muscle mechanism.
The weakest part of the structure is the junction where muscle fibres transition and attach to its tendon fibres. This musculotendinous junction is the most common site of strain injuries.
Classifications of muscle strain injuries
You might have either a grade 1, grade 2 or grade 3 strain:
- Grade one tears are not very serious, and often just involve an over-stretching of the fibres. A bit like when you stretch a bed sheet and the fibres stretch but don’t break.
- A grade two tear is more serious. There are more fibres torn apart and there is often some deep bruising as blood vessels within the muscle also tear open.
- A grade three tear kind of sucks. A lot. The muscle and/or tendon is basically totally ruptured – severed all the way through. If you are unlucky enough to have a grade three tear, you’ll probably be out of action for a while.
*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners