Parkridge Bone & Joint - December 27, 2018

Did you know more than 3 million muscle injuries occur each year? Fortunately, most of them can be alleviated with minor at-home care, but it’s important to know what to look out for.

Muscle Injuries 101

There are a number of reasons muscle injuries occur, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Jumping
  • Lifting something too heavy or awkwardly
  • Not stretching before physical activity
  • Overexertion
  • Poor conditioning
  • Poor flexibility
  • Poor posture
  • Repetition
  • Running
  • Slipping

Regardless of the source of the injury, injuries affecting the muscles typically present with similar symptoms, including:

  • Bruising
  • Discoloration
  • Muscle spasms
  • Limited range of motion
  • Soreness
  • Stiffness
  • Sudden onset of pain
  • Swelling
  • Weakness

If your pain is intense or seems to be getting worse, seek medical attention promptly. Many minor injuries, though, can be treated with some basic care.

Treatment Options

If you experience a muscle injury, stop what you are doing, especially if it is a physical activity like running or playing a certain sport. You want to make sure you don't cause the injury to worsen.

Next, you can try at-home remedies like the RICE method, which calls for rest, icing, compression and elevation.

But is ice really better for an injury than heat?

If you notice immediate swelling in and around the injury site, then you want to grab an ice pack. When you use a cold compress, you are able to not only numb the pain but also reduce swelling by constricting the blood vessels.

However, don't keep the ice pack on the injury for long periods of time. Place a cloth around the ice pack and remove it for a length of time at least every 20 minutes.

On the other hand, if your injury is causing stiff, achy muscles, then heat is recommended. Heat therapy helps to promote blood flow, which can help tight muscles to relax.

Did you experience a muscle injury? Visit Parkridge Bone & Joint for an orthopedic evaluation.