Muscle Strain can occur to any person at any time. One does not require to be a sportsperson or bodybuilder to tear their muscle. Muscle Strain occurs due to the overstretching and overloading of muscles and tendons (the connection of the muscle to the bone) leading to Myalgia or muscle pain. The muscle strain will result in pain, soreness, tightness, reduced functioning of the affected area, stiffness and muscle weakness. The strain can be mild, severe or even a complete muscle rupture.
Most commonly, the muscle strain can occur in our hamstrings (leading to hamstring strain), quadriceps (leading to thigh strain), calf (leading to calf muscle tear), back (leading to back muscle pain) and groin strain. However, every muscle in the body can suffer a muscle strain. There are several other muscle strains occurring due to various reasons. For instance, fatigue-related muscle strain due to sustained postures. Postural fatigue-related muscle strains such as back muscle strain, shoulder, and neck muscle strains. Text neck has also become a common condition occurring due to postural fatigue while overusing your phone.
Symptoms and Treatment
A muscle strain has the following symptoms:
- Muscle Weakness
- Reduced functioning of the affected area
- Muscle Pain
The severity of the muscle strains varies from mild, moderate, severe or a complete muscle rupture. Its treatment will depend on the severity of the muscle strain. Physiotherapy is the most recommended and reliable treatment for Muscle Strain. Physiotherapy treats the symptoms and provides education on the extent of the injury, identify the possible causes, as well as suggest ways to prevent its recurrence.
The rehabilitation can require anywhere from several days to a few weeks. The Physiotherapist will, first of all, do the assessment and try to figure out the main cause of the occurrence of Muscle Strain. After a detailed physical examination, the Physiotherapist will make a treatment plan based on the stage of the muscle strain.
Physiotherapy for Muscle Strain
The Physiotherapist might suggest the following therapies for the Treatment of Muscle Strain.
- Electrotherapy – Electrotherapy involves the use of electrical signals to interfere with the transmission of neural pain signals into the brain. The Ultrasound Therapy, Interferential Therapy (IFT) and Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) can help provide relief in the muscle pain as well as accelerate the healing process.
- Heat and Ice Packs – The heat packs will heat up the tissue and increase blood flow in the area, therefore allowing a quicker recovery. Ice successfully controls pain and decreases inflammation and swelling.
- Manual Therapy – The ultimate treatment goal after a muscle strain is to help the patient regain their mobility. Muscle tightness, just like after any injury will affect the ability to move the joint/muscle and can even lead to re-injury. The Physiotherapist will assist you in the prescribed stretches for your specific injury, which will help lengthen and loosen the muscles, subsequently increasing your flexibility as well as a range of motion. In addition to this, home exercises and self-stretching are an important part of the treatment plan!
- Strengthening Exercises – The treatment plan will include Strengthening exercises to ensure that you maintain strength in areas surrounding the injury and regain the strength in the involved muscle safely. These exercises are carefully progressed as the injured muscle heals. Sometimes, few Combining exercises might also be prescribed to restore mobility and regain strength as well as the functioning and help you get back to your previous activities and work sooner, as well as help to prevent any future injuries.
- Taping – Sometimes, the Physiotherapist may also include Taping in the treatment plan to provide compression as well as support. It can also be used to relax or facilitate the injured muscle.