A pulled muscle requires immediate attention, and can seriously hamper your workout. To ensure proper treatment, you must be able to answer the question “What does a pulled muscle feel like?” in addition to knowing how to treat this condition. Here are some things you should know about pulled muscles that will help you treat and prevent them.
What is a Pulled Muscle?
Dr. John Post, an orthopedic surgeon, triathlete, and author of Training Bible, classifies muscle injuries on a scale of one to three. Grade one is a pulled muscle, grade two a partial tear, and grade three a complete tear that may require surgery. As such, a pulled muscle is considered an overstretching of the muscle during exertion, leading to debilitating pain that may seriously hamper your range of motion.
What Does a Pulled Muscle Feel Like?
After pulling a muscle, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Sharp shooting pains in the affected muscle
- Limited range of motion
- Redness, a warm feeling, or bruising at the injury site
- Pain that occurs even when the muscle is at rest
Occasionally, pulled muscles are also accompanied by a popping noise, significant swelling, or the total loss of use. If any of these conditions occur, you should seek immediate attention from a medical professional.
Treating a Pulled Muscle
After asking “What does a pulled muscle feel like?” the next thing people want to know is how to treat it. Fortunately, treating a pulled muscle at home is very easy to do. The most important thing is to prevent further injury by providing rest and avoiding any activities that may aggravate your condition. Next, apply ice to reduce swelling, and use an ACE or compression bandage to provide support if needed. Over-the-counter medication containing acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be helpful at eliminating swelling and managing pain. Consult with a physician if your symptoms become worse or there is not significant improvement after 48 hours.
Preventing Pulled Muscles
Researchers at John’s Hopkins Medicine have concluded that even moderate activities such as walking may produce muscle injuries. A pulled muscle is no fun, which is why you should take preventive measures that include:
- Properly warming up and stretching prior to a workout. Never stretch cold muscles.
- Maintaining good posture at all times, and not just when exercising
- Bending at the knees and keeping your back straight when lifting heavy objects
- Using caution when working out on slippery surfaces
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Wearing shoes that are appropriate for the activity you are performing
According to Dr. James Garrick, Director of the Center for Sports Medicine at San Francisco’s St. Francis Hospital, muscle injuries are more common among runners due to the jarring nature of this activity. As such, it may also be necessary to modify your activities.
Nearly everyone experiences a pulled muscle at one point or another. Taking preventative measures will reduce your odds of developing a pulled muscle, while also making this injury easier to deal with if it does occur.