If you’ve experienced a pulled muscle in the past, you know the discomfort and pain it can bring. And chances are good you’d like to avoid this type of injury in the future. Pulled muscles, also called muscle strains, result when you tear or overstretch a muscle or muscle group.
Much of the time, this type of injury happens because of overuse, fatigue, or bad form. You can also get a pulled muscle if you use a muscle that you don’t usually engage in or because of an accident, like slipping.
At Ani Medical Group: Orthopaedic & Spine Institute of New Jersey, our expert providers are committed to helping patients in the Old Bridge, Hazlet, and Middletown, New Jersey, areas in the best shape possible. With our comprehensive line of services, we diagnose and treat many different types of conditions and injuries, including pulled muscles.
Our providers also know that most of the time, prevention is the best medicine. That’s why we’ve put together this informative guide with tips on how you can avoid pulling a muscle in the first place.
While you can’t avoid pulled muscles that result due to injury, you can minimize your risk by following our top tips. Keep reading to learn what you need to know.
Decrease your risk of pulling a muscle by keeping your body in shape since weaker muscles are more likely to experience strains than stronger ones. Work to maintain healthy body weight, and aim to exercise three to five days each week.
By getting your blood moving and warming up your muscles before you jump into exercise or a sports activity, you can help reduce your odds of pulling a muscle. Spend a few minutes walking or jogging, or engage in light calisthenics to prepare your muscles for the activity to come.
Like regular exercise, strength training plays a key role in helping to prevent pulled muscles. By adding strength training to your exercise program, you work to keep your body in alignment and strengthen your muscles, ligaments, bones, and tendons so they can better handle stress during other activities.
Stretching before and after your workout improves your range of motion and decreases the tension in your muscles, helping prevent strain during activity. You can also incorporate regular stretching with exercises like yoga.
When you don’t stretch, your muscles become tight and short, increasing your risk of injury. It’s important not to overstretch, however. Aggressive stretching can damage your muscles and decrease your ability to perform — especially if you engage in this type of activity before your workout.
You can avoid some of the most common muscle strains by lifting heavy objects using the right technique. Instead of bending your back and reaching down to the object, bend your knees and keep your back straight. Use your leg muscles to lift, and be sure not to twist your body as you lift.
Sitting in one position for long periods of time, such as when you work at a desk or table, isn’t great for muscles. Be sure to take breaks and change positions frequently, and maintain good posture when you sit or stand to keep your muscles, joints, bones, and soft tissues in alignment.
Most of the time, a pulled muscle gets better with a little TLC at home. You’ll want to rest and avoid using your muscles for several days, then slowly begin to use the affected muscle as you heal.
You should also ice the injured muscle and reduce swelling by wrapping it in a compression bandage. If possible, keep the affected muscle(s) elevated above your heart. To help manage the discomfort, try an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever, like ibuprofen.
Severely pulled muscles may require medical attention. If you experience any of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment with a provider at Ani Medical Group as soon as possible:
Want to learn more about how to avoid pulling a muscle? Contact the experts at the Ani Medical Group. You can schedule an appointment by calling the New Jersey office nearest you, or request an appointment online now.