Pulling a muscle is one of the most common injuries you can suffer while exercising. It usually happens when you push yourself too hard, and your muscle overstretches. This can also be referred to as a muscle strain – or even a muscle tear in extreme circumstances. With a pulled muscle, you’re in a fair bit of pain and are unable to do certain activities that require the use of your muscle. But here is What To Do When You Pull A Muscle
It’s common to want to get straight back to your fitness routine following an injury. Especially if it feels like a minor muscle pull – you think it’s not worth resting. You want to keep exercising so you can achieve your fitness goals. Unfortunately, exercising with a pulled muscle will lead to a greater injury that keeps you out of action for longer. So, rest now, and you will end up recovering a lot faster.
Repair the damage
A pulled muscle has been damaged either by the muscle fibres stretching too much or small tears happening. Thankfully, our bodies are very clever and can repair the damage themselves. Still, you can help this by seeking out some assistance. Visit a physio to get special massages that ease pain and get your muscles to recover faster. You can also be prescribed exercises and stretches to help the recovery process. It’s important to work on strengthening a pulled muscle as it starts to recover – as well as strengthening the muscles around it. This can prevent the same injury from happening again and again.
Ease yourself back into things
As a general rule, you should avoid working your damaged muscle until you feel no more pain or tightness. By resting and following your physiotherapist’s advice, you could be back in action within a week or so. When the time comes, be sure you ease yourself back into it. For example, if you pulled your hamstring, don’t hop on the treadmill and do sprints! Start with a brisk walk, followed by a light jog. Each day, increase the intensity slightly – while making sure you continue with your rehab exercises. This builds muscle strength back up, preventing the injury from coming back right away.
Warm-up and cool down
Finally, be sure you always warm-up and cool down when you exercise. Most muscle pulls happen when you don’t warm your body up before exercising. A cold muscle is tight and stiff, making it easier to pull. Get your body warmed up and primed for whatever exercises you’re about to do. Then, following this, take part in a cool down. This is a less rigorous version of a warm-up. The emphasis is more on stretching your muscles so they don’t get really tight after your workout. Both of these things help you protect your body and avoid pulling the same muscle again.
To sum up: rest, recover and ease yourself back into the swing of things. It’s tempting to rush back into exercise when you’re injured. In truth, you can still work out, just don’t use the injured muscle. For example, if you pulled your hamstring, you can still do exercises that work your upper body.