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  • Carol Michaels

Treating a Strained Muscle

A strain (pull) is a tear in the muscle or tendon. It can be a tiny tear or a large tear (rupture). Intense stretching, repetitive movements, heavy lifting, and abrupt or explosive movements can cause strains, Sports such as football, basketball, track, golf and tennis can cause muscle strains. The hamstrings, quads, calves, and the back are more susceptible to strain than other muscles.

It is important to learn how to warm-up properly. A warmed-up, nonfatigued muscle is more resistant to injury than a fatigued muscle, which has not been adequately prepared for competition or stress.

If you strain a muscle, RICE (Rest Ice, Compression, Elevation) is typically recommended. Some professionals, however feel that this has not been fully studied and recently, there has been a growing movement away from RICE. This will be addressed in my next blog on

Strains that present with redness, swelling and bruising require medical attention. After the resolution of the acute pain and swelling, begin physical therapy with the goal of restoration of muscle strength and flexibility. A full return to activity should not occur before these goals have been met. It is then advisable to work with an exercise specialist who will perform a full body fitness assessment with the goals of finding and correcting imbalances and helping you to increase muscle strength and flexibility so that you do not reinjure.

Questions or comments? Contact Carol Michaels at

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