Muscle strain a.k.a muscle pull is when muscles or tendons tear or stretch. A muscle strain occurs when muscle fibers cannot cope with the demands placed on them by exercise overload and leads to tearing of the fibers. No matter what causes a strain, it’s painful and inconvenient, which is why knowing how to treat the pain and swelling may help you recover more quickly and make you more comfortable.
According to article on mayoclinic.org, here are some ways you can treat that muscle strain or muscle pull when it develops. It’s called the R.I.C.E. approach — rest, ice, compression, elevation:
1. Avoid activities that cause pain, swelling or discomfort. But don’t avoid all physical activity.
2. Even if you’re seeking medical help, ice the area immediately. Use an ice pack or slush bath of ice and water for 15 to 20 minutes each time and repeat every two to three hours while you’re awake for the first few days after the injury.
3. To help stop swelling, compress the area with an elastic bandage until the swelling stops. Don’t wrap it too tightly or you may hinder circulation. Begin wrapping at the end farthest from your heart. Loosen the wrap if the pain increases, the area becomes numb or swelling is occurring below the wrapped area.
4. Elevate the injured area above the level of your heart, especially at night, which allows gravity to help reduce swelling.
Additional options according to an article blog.gameready.com include massage which help loosen tight muscles and increase blood flow to help heal damaged tissues, heat therapy with warm or hot baths or hot cloths to help relieve pain after the initial swelling has subsided, physical therapy which can help promote muscle strength and healing, and of course, pain medication to relieve pain like aspirin or ibuprofen, which may also help reduce swelling.