Muscle strain, muscle pull, or even a muscle tear refers to damage to a muscle or its attaching tendons. You can put undue pressure on muscles during the course of normal daily activities, with sudden heavy lifting, during sports, or while performing work tasks.
Muscle damage can be in the form of tearing (part or all) of the muscle fibers and the tendons attached to the muscle. The tearing of the muscle can also damage small blood vessels, causing local bleeding, or bruising, and pain caused by irritation of the nerve endings in the area.
Muscle Strain Symptoms
Symptoms of muscle strain include:
Swelling, bruising, or redness due to the injury
Pain at rest
Pain when the specific muscle or the joint in relation to that muscle is used
Weakness of the muscle or tendons
Inability to use the muscle at all
When to Seek Medical Care
If you have a significant muscle injury (or if home remedies bring no relief in 24 hours), call your doctor.
Exams and Tests
The doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical exam. During the exam, it’s important to establish whether the muscle is partially or completely torn, which can involve a much longer healing process, possible surgery, and a more complicated recovery.
X-rays or lab tests are often not necessary, unless there was a history of trauma or evidence of infection.
Muscle Strain Treatment Self-Care at Home
The amount of swelling or local bleeding into the muscle (from torn blood vessels) can best be managed early by applying ice packs and maintaining the strained muscle in a stretched position. Heat can be applied when the swelling has lessened. However, the early application of heat can increase swelling and pain.
Note: Ice or heat should not be applied to bare skin. Always use a protective covering such as a towel between the ice or heat and the skin.
Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as naproxen or ibuprofen to reduce pain and improve your ability to move around. Do not take NSAIDS if you have kidney disease or a history of gastrointestinal bleeding or if you are also taking a blood thinner -- such as Coumadin -- without first talking with your doctor. In that case, it is safer to take acetaminophen, which helps lessen pain but does not reduce inflammation.
Protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (known as the PRICE formula) can help the affected muscle. Here's how: First, remove all constrictive clothing, including jewelry, in the area of muscle strain. Then:
Protect the strained muscle from further injury.
Rest the strained muscle. Avoid the activities that caused the strain and other activities that are painful.
Ice the muscle area (20 minutes every hour while awake). Ice is a very effective anti-inflammatory and pain-reliever. Small ice packs, such as packages of frozen vegetables or water frozen in foam coffee cups, applied to the area may help decrease inflammation.
Compression can be gently applied with an Ace or other elastic bandage, which can both provide support and decrease swelling. Do not wrap tightly.
Elevate the injured area to decrease swelling. Prop up a strained leg muscle while sitting, for example.
Activities that increase muscle pain or work the affected body part are not recommended until the pain has significantly improved.
What are muscle cramps?
A muscle cramp is a strong, painful contraction or tightening of a muscle that comes on suddenly and lasts from a few seconds to several minutes. It often occurs in the legs. A muscle cramp is also called a charley horse.
Nighttime leg cramps are usually sudden spasms, or tightening, of muscles in the calf. The muscle cramps can sometimes happen in the thigh or the foot. They often occur just as you are falling asleep or waking up.
What causes muscle cramps?
The cause of muscle cramps isn't always known. Muscle cramps may be brought on by many conditions or activities, such as:
Exercising, injury, or overuse of muscles.
Pregnancy. Cramps may occur because of decreased amounts of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, especially in the later months of pregnancy.
Exposure to cold temperatures, especially to cold water.
Other medical conditions, such as blood flow problems (peripheral arterial disease), kidney disease, thyroid disease, and multiple sclerosis.
Standing on a hard surface for a long time, sitting for a long time, or putting your legs in awkward positions while you sleep.
Not having enough potassium, calcium, and other minerals in your blood.
Being dehydrated, which means that your body has lost too much fluid.
Taking certain medicines, such as antipsychotics, birth control pills, diuretics, and steroids.
How can you stop a muscle cramp when it happens?
You may need to try several different ways to stop a muscle cramp before you find what works best for you. Here are some things you can try:
Stretch and massage the muscle.
Take a warm shower or bath to relax the muscle. A heating pad placed on the muscle can also help.
Try using an ice or cold pack. Always keep a cloth between your skin and the ice pack.
Take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
If your doctor prescribes medicines for muscle cramps, take them exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you have any problems with your medicine.
Drink plenty of fluids. Sports drinks, such as Gatorade, will often help leg cramps.
Here are some things you can try for a leg cramp:
Walk around, or jiggle your leg.
Stretch your calf muscles. You can do this stretch while you sit or stand:
While sitting, straighten your leg and flex your foot up toward your knee. It may help to place a rolled towel under the ball of your foot and, while holding the towel at both ends, gently pull the towel toward you while keeping your knee straight.
While standing about 0.5 m (2 ft) from a wall, lean forward against the wall. Keep the knee of the affected leg straight and the heel on the ground. Do this while you bend the knee of the other leg. See a picture of how to do this calf stretch.
If you think a medicine is causing muscle cramps:
Before you take another dose, call the doctor who prescribed the medicine. The medicine may need to be stopped or changed, or the dose may need to be adjusted.
If you are taking any medicine not prescribed by a doctor, stop taking it. Talk to your doctor if you think you need to continue taking the medicine.
How can you prevent muscle cramps?
These tips may help prevent muscle cramps:
Drink plenty of water and other fluids, enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water.
Limit or avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.
Make sure you are eating healthy foods (especially if you are pregnant) that are rich in calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
Ride a bike or stationary bike to condition and stretch your muscles.
Stretch your muscles every day, especially before and after exercise and at bedtime.
Don't suddenly increase the amount of exercise you get. Increase your exercise a little each week.
Take a daily multivitamin.
If you are taking medicines that are known to cause leg cramps, your doctor may prescribe different medicines.
The shoulders are the strongest and the most often used areas of the body as they are connected to the neck, chest, hands and elbows. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that shoulder pain and wear and tear of this area, including the rotor cuff and bursa, is also quite common. The shoulders may face plenty of wear and tear when it comes to the ligaments, tissue and other such elements. The shoulder joint may also get injured with repetitive actions that are involved in the life of a sportsperson, a carpenter, a painter and other such professionals.
There are a number of ways in which one can deal with shoulder pain. Here are the best measures that you can take in order to deal with the same.
Increase the range of motion: One should increase the range and variety of motions so that the stiffness and soreness that primarily comes from repetitive actions, may be avoided. If you are only lifting materials, then you may also want to swing the arm at regular intervals to increase the blood flow and exercise the various nerves. Also, this will help in giving rest to the affected region of the shoulder. Rehabilitation therapy can help in introducing one to a range of motions that will give rest to the affected area and bring in new positions.
Perform strengthening exercises: One of the best ways to keep pain and stiffness at bay is to create plenty of core strength in the muscles and joints of the area. You can try out various exercises as per the physiotherapist and the physical therapy exercises so that you can build strength. This will also help in keeping the pressure off of the affected area. You can add some weights to the exercise routine so that there is extra strength built up in the process.
Do aerobic exercises: Aerobic exercises are known to increase the blood circulation to the area. The tendon and the bursa in particular benefit substantially from this kind of exercise. This will also bring the soreness down so that the pain and stiffness do not affect you.
Try heat and ice therapy: You can use ice packs to soothe the inflammation in the affected area. This is usually recommended for acute pain and new injuries. Similarly, you can use heat packs and hot showers to soothe chronic pain as and when the same returns. However, you should be careful so that the scalding temperature does not leave burns and marks.
Medication: You can also have painkillers as well as gels and ointments that can be used for topical relief. These must be taken with a doctor’s prescription.
Muscle cramps often occur in the calf muscle of the back of the lower leg. It is often characterized by a momentary sharp pain along with a muscle lump beneath the skin. Just like its sudden appearance, muscle cramp disappears the same way without any botheration. However, a doctor should be consulted if you see any of the following symptoms:
-The pain keeps coming back
-The cramps result in weakening of the muscles
-It causes frequent discomfort
-It results in changed skin color, redness or swelling of the skin
-The condition doesn’t improve with normal care
-Cramps are not associated with obvious causes such as playing, exercising and jogging
What causes muscle cramps?
Any strain on muscle, dehydration, muscle overuse or simply standing for a prolonged time can lead to muscle cramps. The exact cause of muscle cramps is not known in a lot of cases. There could be the following medical conditions that could lead to such muscle cramps:
1. Blood supply: At times when the arteries narrow down resulting in an inadequate blood supply in the leg, a sharp pain can be felt followed by muscle cramps. This can happen while exercising or playing. It disappears as soon as one rests their legs.
2. Mineral depletion: Shortage of magnesium, potassium and calcium in the body can lead to muscle cramps. Even medication for high blood pressure can lead to cramps in the legs.
3. Nerve compression: Nerve compression of the spine can produce sharp pain on the leg muscles. The pain worsens with longer durations of walk. The symptoms, however, can be delayed a bit if the walking posture is changed, like the way one walks while carrying a shopping cart.
##What are the risk factors associated to muscle cramps?
1. Dehydration: Muscle cramps often happen among athletes when they get dehydrated and fatigued while performing in hot temperature.
2. Age: People over the age of 60 often lose mass in the muscle. The remaining mass gets stressed out soon, resulting in muscle cramps.
3. Pregnancy: Pregnant women face frequent muscle cramps due to the sudden increase of body weight and restricted movements in the pregnancy period.
4. Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions such as nerve disorder, thyroid problems, liver failure, diabetes etc. greatly increase the chance of muscle cramps.
##Some common ways to treat muscle cramps:
1. A brisk walk followed by stretching relaxes the muscles and greatly helps in staying away from cramps.
2. A diet consisting of magnesium on a regular basis gives relief from muscle cramps.
3. A wet cloth soaked in hot water often shows magical results and gives instant relief from muscle cramps.
4. Being hydrated throughout the day helps with muscle cramps. It is necessary to consume enough amount of electrolytes so that muscle contraction does not happen.
How to make a dish taste better? Add some black salt to it. Commonly used in the Indian kitchens, black salt, also popularly known as kaala namak has known to be a type of Indian volcanic rock salt. Unlike its name, the black salt has a pinkish-grey hue due to the presence of iron and other minerals. It adds a distinctive flavour to most dishes and is known to be a healthy form of salt. While it has been known for its various health benefits, there is no scientific research that been conducted.Most people use it as an effective home remedy for stomach problems and is known to be good for people with high blood pressure levels, considering it is low on sodium. Here are some of the benefits that black salt has to offer.
Health benefits of black salt (kaala namak)
1. Known alternative to common salt
Common salt or table salt that we tend to consume on a daily basis has high sodium levels and should be consumed in a limited quantity. One alternative that can be used an effective alternative is black salt. Black salt is less processed and is less iodized, which makes it healthier.
2. Cures bloating and acidity
Bloating can be caused due to various reasons, some of which include over-eating, allergies, constipation, IBS, et al. The alkaline properties of black salt help reduce excess acid in the stomach and its minerals present help lessen the damage caused by acid reflux. It acts as a great laxative that helps relieve you from bowel problems.
3. May prevent muscle cramp or spasm
Black salt contains sufficient amount of potassium that is crucial in regulating muscle functioning and also helps absorb other minerals well. It may effectively reduce muscle cramps and spasms by relaxing them enough.
4. Reduces water retention
Water retention is caused by accumulation of fluids in tissues or cavities of the body; one of the causes of water retention is consumption of excessive sodium. Black salt as compared to common salt has lesser sodium content that makes it an amazing cure for water retention.
5. Helps in stimulating blood circulation
Black salt is a natural blood thinner that ensures proper blood circulation in the body, further reducing blood clots and cholesterol problems.
Black salt for skin care
Black salt's anti-inflammatory properties and coarse texture helps heal cracked heel, swollen foot and even sprain.
In addition, it also acts as a cleanser that helps open clogged pores and provides a gleaming skin.
How to use black salt for cleansing?
Take some black salt and mix in distilled water; let the solution set overnight. The salt should absorb water completely. Apply it on the affected areas.
How to use black salt for detoxifying?
Add a teaspoon of black salt in warm water and drink it on empty stomach every morning. This solution will help as a natural detoxifier and flush all toxins from the body.
Go ahead and add black salt in your diet and enjoy the distinct taste of the much loved kitchen ingredient that it is!