How to treat a Pulled Muscle – by Becky Blaauw
Pulled Muscle, what are the options of getting back to my sport in the fastest most effective way?
All sportsmen are faced with this situation in their sporting career. What do you do? Let's look at the options:
1. Stretching a pulled muscle: If your muscle is niggling or you feel a dull ache on the sport field stretch it out. At this stage you probably have not strained it yet. But if there is a sharp pain you may have strained the muscle. In this situation it is not a good idea to stretch. Remember your muscles are like rubber bands, so a strained muscle is like an overstretched band with damage to the fibers. It does not make sense to stretch it even further.
2. Heat or Ice. Ice is still the preferred treatment straight after pulling a muscle. After 24 hours you can apply a combination of ice and heat to help blood flow into the injured area, to help the muscle recover faster.
3.Massage is another useful tool but should be applied at the correct time of injury. If the muscle is a light strain or cramp, massage can be applied immediately. However if there is evidence of a strain where there is some bleeding in the muscle, only apply massage after 72 hours.
4. Anti-inflammatories can help reduce inflammation and pain associated with the injury. But often anti-inflammatories masks the pain and the sportsman will continue with his/ her activities with detrimental consequences. So my advice is to use anti-inflammatories wisely i.e.: do not use them for more than 5 days and do not resume your sporting activity with them.
So my best advice is to rest the muscle totally for 5 days with a combination of ice, anti inflammatory and massage. Next step is to see your Biokineticist so they can assist in getting you back on the sports field. A pulled muscle can take anything from 2 to 6 weeks to get back onto the field. Remember a muscle that is not rehabed correctly, no matter how big or small, can become a reoccurring problem that may even end up as a catastrophic problem for the athlete. Make sure your muscle is ready to take on the exertion that sport places on it.