Muscle strains can be associated with Sports/Activity Injury, or they can occur when we are simply doing normal daily things. If a strain does occur in normal activity it may be a sign that the muscle is in some way unhealthy. It may have been too tight or too weak or just generally in poor condition. Muscles are very dynamic structures and to work well they need care and attention. Muscle Imbalance, where certain factors cause parts of the body to become asymmetrical, is also a major factor when we suffer a strain. Muscle strains sometimes involve Joint Irritation/Strain as well. Strains can be acute like in a fall or sports injury or they can be chronic, longer term muscle irritations.
Muscles are made up of tiny contracting fibres meshed together. They are designed to withstand a certain amount of stretch and contraction, which varies depending on their healthiness. At a certain point fibres will start to tear. Macro-tears will cause severe pain and often rend the area immobile. Smaller micro-tears will tend to cause dull, aching type pain as they build up slowly as in work/repetitive strain.
Symptoms of acute muscle strain:
- Pain during or after activity (usually forceful activity)
- Rapid onset of severe pain
- Swelling and tenderness in area
- Contracting muscle causes severe pain
- Symptoms of chronic muscle strain:
- Dull, aching pain of longer duration
- Gradual onset
- Often associated with repetitive activity
- Long-term stiffness
Muscle strain requires a careful and expert diagnosis by a trained professional. It is a common presentation in clinic and where appropriate, receives careful and expert treatment. Firstly an assessment and analysis is performed to establish how serious the problem is and then, if appropriate, gentle treatment is performed to stabilize structures, reduce inflammation, and facilitate the healing of the structures causing the symptoms.
Ultimately the aim is not just to treat it but prevent the symptoms from reoccurring. This includes education on how to keep the area in question healthy in the future. Please call to talk to a trained professional if you want to know more.