When people think of chiropractic care, they usually picture spinal manipulation to treat misaligned vertebrae, headaches, or neck pain. Not everyone knows that chiropractors also treat pulled muscles. If you’re an athlete struggling with muscular pain, learn more about this injury and how a chiropractor can help.
What is a Pulled Muscle?
A pulled muscle, or muscle strain, is when a muscle or its attaching tendon becomes torn. You can pull a muscle by overusing or stretching it farther than intended while playing sports, performing work tasks, or lifting something heavy. This stretching can cause micro-tearing in the muscle fibers and tendons, which can be quite painful.
You may have a pulled muscle if you experience:
- Inflammation, redness, or bruising
- Muscle tenderness and weakness
- Pain while resting
- Pain while engaging the injured muscle
- Inability to use the muscle at all
How to Prevent Pulled Muscles
Although the risk of muscle strain is highest among athletes, everyone should be mindful of daily activities that could cause muscle strain. To prevent injuries in the future, follow these tips:
- Warm up before exercising or playing sports.
- Stretch in the morning, after you exercise, and before bed to increase your flexibility.
- Increase the intensity of your workout routine gradually rather than pushing yourself too hard, too soon.
- Practice good lifting technique.
- Sit and stand with proper posture.
- Maintain a healthy body weight to avoid stressing your leg and back muscles.
Chiropractic Care and Other Treatments for Pulled Muscles
With proper treatment, most people recover completely from pulled muscles. Mild back strain may heal in four to six weeks, while moderate leg strain may require eight to 10 weeks of recovery. Begin with at-home care, and if you don’t find relief within 24 to 48 hours, contact a chiropractor.
- At-home remedies: Follow the RICE rule—rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This involves avoiding the activity that caused the strain, icing the pulled muscle in 20-minute increments throughout the day, gently compressing the injury with an elastic bandage, and propping up the injured area on a pillow. You can also take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine to help reduce the swelling.
- Chiropractic care: Soft tissue adjustments increase blood flow to the affected area, providing pain relief and helping the pulled muscle heal faster. A chiropractor can also focus on the musculoskeletal system, aligning the joints to ensure your body is ready for future physical activity.
- Massage: Self-massage, as well as professional massage therapy, offers similar healing effects as chiropractic care. Improving blood flow and stimulating the injured area improves your range of motion and helps prevent further injury and pain.
Effective Integrative Healthcare is a complete wellness center offering a suite of cutting-edge healthcare treatments, including chiropractic care and massage therapy. Let us help you enjoy an active, pain-free lifestyle without pharmaceuticals or surgery! Contact us today at 410-729-2200 to schedule a free consultation at one of our Crofton, Millersville, or Lanham, MD locations.