Muscle Strain? What's next?

What to do after a muscle strain!!

Muscle strains are a very common injury amongst the athletic population but there seems to be a lot of confusion on how athletes should handle a muscle strain.

The good news is that in the medical community there is very little debate as the proper course of treatment. Following the steps below will not only help you treat the current injury but will help you re-injuring it later.

Muscle Strain Treatment

  • Initial injury – You will likely feel a very sharp pull in the muscle, then the muscle will feel very tight and like you need to stretch it;
  • Don’t Stretch it – Do not stretch it immediately.  Although this goes against what you feel it is important that you do not stretch it yet. 
  • Put it on ice  – Ice the injured muscle immediately after the injury and every other hour after for that night and the next few days during your down time.
  •  Consider anti-inflammatories – If pain and swelling continue to be an issue, NSAIDS as prescribed on the bottle may be used to decrease and inflammation. 
  • Patience is a virtue – For a muscle strain it is important to wait a few days (4-5 days) before attempting to return to sport. Starting too soon can cause more damage and keep you out of the game much longer. 
  • Now it’s time to stretch – After 3 or 4 days you can begin to gently stretch the muscle.  However do not stretch aggressively and definitely do not push through the pain.
  • Slow and steady wins the race – In the case of a muscle strain, working slowly back into the sport is important.  Take time to warm up and ease into stretches before playing.  Make sure you do not jump right back in.  

If the problem continues and you are still having a lot pain especially when returning to your sport, please come see us at Chesapeake Bay Aquatic & Physical Therapy and we can work together on managing your muscle strain.