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Pulled Muscles

The most common sports injuries are injuries to your muscles, tendons and/or ligaments.  These soft tissue injuries can be either an acute injury or a chronic injury.  An acute injury is an injury that occurs at a specific and identifiable time, and if not treated properly, can become a chronic injury. A chronic injury is the result of overuse and repetitive movements.

Pulled muscles are caused by:

Lack of proper warm-up;
Lack of flexibility;
Lack of conditioning;
Fatigue;
Over-exertion.

A pulled muscle is painful and can cause swelling, bruising and loss of function. The severity of the injury is determined by whether you have strained the muscle or torn the muscle.  A severe strain or tear may require medical attention.

The recommended protocol for treating a pulled muscle is the P.R.I.C.E. principle.  P.R.I.C.E. is an acronym for the following:

P- Protect the injury by stopping the activity;
R- Rest the injured muscle by avoiding any painful movements;
I- Ice the injured area ASAP, every 20 minutes of every hour you are awake.  Ice will reduce the pain and the swelling;
C- Compress the injury with elastic wrap to provide support and reduce swelling;
E-Elevate the injured area to further reduce swelling.

It is also recommended that you take anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil or Aleve.

Keep the above in mind the next time you strain or pull a muscle during an activity.  Immediately stop your activity and follow the P.R.I.C.E. principle to lessen the severity of the injury and shorten the healing time.

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