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Muscle Strain & Tear, Cramp

A muscle strain is the over stretching or pulling of muscle fibres, where as tear refers to tearing of muscle fibres. Most muscle strains and tears happen for one of two reasons: either the muscle has been stretched beyond its limits or it has been forced to contract too strongly.

In mild cases, only a few muscle fibers are stretched or torn, and the muscle remains intact and strong. In severe cases, however, the strained muscle may be torn and unable to function properly.

Muscle injuries can be classified as:-

Grade I – In this, only a few muscle fibers are stretched or torn. Although the injured muscle is tender and painful, it has normal strength.

Grade II – In this, a greater number of fibers are injured (almost 50%) and more severe muscle pain and tenderness. There is also mild swelling, noticeable loss of strength and sometimes a bruise.

Grade III– This strain tears the muscle all the way through, sometimes causing a “pop” sensation as the muscle rips into two separate pieces or shears away from its tendon. Grade III strains are serious injuries.

Symptoms :

  • Sudden muscle pain and tenderness, especially after an activity that stretches or violently contracts the muscle — Pain usually increases when you move the muscle but is relieved by rest.
  • Muscle swelling, discoloration or both
  • Muscle cramp or spasm
  • Either a decrease in muscle strength or (in Grade III strains) a complete loss of muscle function
  • Pop in the muscle at the time of injury
  • A gap, dent or other defects in the normal outline of the muscle (in Grade III strain)

Causes :

Activities that can increase the risk of muscle strain include athletic activity in sports, sudden acceleration or deceleration, throwing, quick and/or heavy lifting, sudden coughing, or injury of muscle while performing irregular work tasks. It is possible to strain any muscle that moves bones.

An acute muscle strain is when your muscle tears suddenly and unexpectedly. Such tears can occur either from injuries or trauma. This can be due to:

  • not warming up properly before physical activity
  • poor flexibility
  • poor conditioning
  • overexertion and fatigue

There’s a misconception that only rigorous exercises and workouts of high-intensity cause muscle strains. However, an acute strain can happen when you:

  • slip or lose your footing
  • jump
  • run
  • throw something
  • lift something heavy
  • lift something while you’re in an awkward position

Acute muscle strains are also more common in cold weather. This is because muscles are stiffer in lower temperatures.

Chronic muscle strains are the result of repetitive movement. This can be due to:

  • sports like rowing, tennis, golf, or baseball
  • holding your back or neck in an awkward position for long periods of time, such as
    when you work at a desk
  • poor posture

Treatment :

Doctors after discussing your symptoms and your medical history will assess and examine the structures involved. Conservative treatment focuses on the education of the patient about the injury reducing pain and swelling, Myofascial releases, mobilization, taping, therapeutic exercises to stretch and strengthen both the involved and surrounding muscles.

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