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Muscle Strains

Muscle strain -- or muscle pull or even a muscle tear -- implies damage to a muscle or its attaching tendons. You can put undue pressure on muscles during the course of normal daily activities, with sudden heavy lifting, during sports, or while performing work tasks.

Muscle damage can be in the form of tearing (part or all) of the muscle fibers and the tendons attached to the muscle. The tearing of the muscle can also damage small blood vessels, causing local bleeding (bruising) and pain (caused by irritation of the nerve endings in the area).  

Muscle Strain Symptoms
Swelling, bruising or redness, or open cuts due to the injury 
Pain at rest 
Pain when the specific muscle or the joint in relation to that muscle is used 
Weakness of the muscle or tendons (A sprain, in contrast, is an injury to a joint and its ligaments.) 
Inability to use the muscle at all

Muscle Strain Treatment Self-Care at Home

The amount of swelling or local bleeding into the muscle (from torn blood vessels) can best be managed early by applying ice packs and maintaining the strained muscle in a stretched position. Heat can be applied when the swelling has lessened.

Note: Ice or heat should not be applied to bare skin. Always use a protective covering such as a towel between the ice or heat and the skin.

Protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (known as the PRICE formula) can help the affected muscle. Here's how:

First, remove all constrictive clothing, including jewelry, in the area of muscle strain.
Then:
Protect the strained muscle from further injury.
Rest the strained muscle. Avoid the activities that caused the strain and other activities that are
   painful.
Ice the muscle area (20 minutes every hour while awake). Ice is a very effective anti-inflammatory
   and pain-reliever. Small ice packs, such as packages of frozen vegetables or water frozen in foam
   coffee cups, applied to the area may help decrease inflammation.
Compression can be a gently applied with an Ace or other elastic bandage, which can provide both
   support and decrease swelling. Do not wrap tightly.
Elevate the injured area to decrease swelling. Prop up a strained leg muscle while sitting, for
   example.

Activities that increase muscle pain or work the affected body part are not recommended until the pain has significantly improved.
 
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