Have You Ever Pulled A Muscle?
Have you ever pulled a muscle?
Chances are you have.
And when you, don’t you know it!
When you pulled a muscle the pain can range from mild, like a minor neck strain you
get from turning your head the wrong way, to very severe, such as a lower back injury
that leaves you unable to walk for days.
Just last week a patient of mine walked in the clinic in agony.
He was unable to bend, stand or walk without triggering his knee pain. It happened
when he was playing soccer and as he kicked the ball, he immediately felt
excruciating pain on his knee.
Two weeks ago I also had another patient who pulled a muscle in his lower back after
sneezing. He was in so much pain and completely unable to walk.
That’s right – you can pull a muscle from sneezing as well as coughing and straining
in the toilet.
The sneezing forces a sudden, uncontrolled movement that the body simply isn’t
prepared for. And it’s this kind of sudden movement that often results in a pulled or
strained muscle, because the body is forced into an action it’s not warmed up or
Whiplash is a great example of this…
The sudden rapid back and forth movement of the neck causes strain to the neck
muscles, leaving you feeling achy, and your neck too painful to turn properly.
And the same happened with this gentleman who walked into the clinic who strained his
knee from playing soccer – his muscles weren’t prepared and warmed up properly, so
the sudden quick movement of kicking a ball came as a shock to his body, straining a
muscle in his leg.
You don’t have to be a weightlifter, or be carrying anything heavy to pull a muscle…
Sneezing, turning your neck suddenly, sleeping in an awkward position, moving to pick
something up or even reaching for something that’s tricky to get to – are just a few
examples of simple things you can do everyday to pull a muscle.
And believe me when I say, when you pull a muscle, usually you’ll know it right away.
You might experience a sudden onset of pain, soreness, bruising, stiffness, swelling,
a limited range of movement, muscle spasms…
And that’s just a few of the symptoms!
So what do you do when you pull a muscle?…
What can you do to ease the pain quickly?
Do you use ice or heat? Do you rest, or keep moving? Do you get a therapist to take a
If the muscle pull is severe – the kind that really does stop you from walking, or
turning your neck at all… Then you should immediately see someone. Don’t mess around
with severe injuries and try to treat them at home yourself, or it might last longer!
The advice I’m about to give you is for a mild muscle strain – the kind where you can
still move, but you know you’ve done something. As always, use your best judgement –
go and seek help if you’re in any doubt whatsoever.
Ok, so you’ve pulled a muscle – what should you do?
I’m going to break this down so you know what to do at all stages when you’ve pulled
a muscle so you can get back to 100% as quickly as possible.
As soon as you know you’ve pulled a muscle – I recommend you use the tried and tested
Note that this is a treatment protocol recommended to do in the first 24 hours…
So, “R” – this stands for “Rest”.
The first thing you need to do is stop doing whatever you did that pulled your muscle
in the first place. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen people injure
themselves, especially when doing a physical activity, and decide to go ahead and
push through it – That is guaranteed to always make your injury worse.
Next step – “Ice”.
A lot of people ask – “When do I use ice, and when do I use heat?”…
Well, the sooner you apply ice, the better! Ice the injured area for 20 minutes on,
20 minutes off, and do this up to 3 times.
Ice provides pain relief and helps minimise swelling. Which is the primary purpose of
ice – to reduce swelling.
It’s best to think of ice as a pain-reliever.
But don’t apply it directly to the skin. Wrap it in a tea towel and then apply to the
Then you move onto “Compression”.
Apply a soft bandage to the area to help support the muscle and reduce the swelling.
Make sure not to wrap the area too tightly or you will restrict blood flow to the
Next for the ‘E’ – “Elevation”. If possible, try to keep the injured muscle elevated,
above the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling. Though I know this
isn’t always possible in some cases, so don’t worry about this one too much.
As a general rule, after doing the above method for a day, I like to get moving as
soon as possible. Even as soon as the next day. I’m only talking about very gentle
movements that don’t cause pain. If anything you’re doing causes pain – stop
So here’s my tip for you today: You don’t always need to rush off to a pharmacy and
buy a “magic cure” to rub on muscles and joints or take painkillers.
There is NEARLY ALWAYS a natural solution out there waiting for you.
Second… if you are experiencing a pulled muscle, try this “RICE” method first it
won’t take away all the pain but is a good start. The next step is to request
professional advice by an experienced physiotherapist who will examine and start
treatment so that you can healed faster in order to return to your day to day
activities. To book a Physiotherapy consultation in North York just call our office at 416-634-0005.
To your health,
We do virtual sessions and invite you to book a consult for a complimentary phone consultation with one of our physiotherapists or give us a call us at (416) 634-0005 to book a Free Consultation with one of our expert physiotherapists.
Stay Active’s team of rehabilitation professionals regularly provides its patients with information on living happier, healthier lives. Please take value in these physiotherapy and massage therapy insights.