Muscles make your body move by contracting and relaxing. Because they have a good blood supply, healing can take as little as 3-6 weeks.
Injuries to muscles are often called “strains”. Common causes include:
Repetitive tasks and overuse can tire out your muscles. This happens in manual labourers but also in sedentary office workers that complain of neck, shoulder and low back pain from prolonged sitting.
Tissue over load
Unaccustomed heavy lifting and sporting activities such as sprinting, suddenly changing directions and jumping put a lot of strain on the muscles and can lead to tears.
Muscle tears are graded depending the extent of the damage:
Grade 1 mild – micro trauma; minimal pain; minimal loss of ROM, strength and function.
Grade 2 moderate – partial tear; very painful; obvious loss of ROM, strength and function
Grade 3 severe – complete/near complete tear of muscle fibres; complete/near complete loss of ROM, strength and function; visible/palpable deformity (will require an orthopaedic opinion)
This is essentially a bruise – a bleed into the muscle. Remember the time your best mate decided it would be funny to give you a “dead leg”? That was a contusion. Massage therapy should be used cautiously in these situations as it can make things worse if done incorrectly.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
This is the fancy name for “post workout pain”. When you exercise, you create small microtraumas to the muscle fibres that causes pain, stiffness and swelling several hours after your workout. This often occurs when changing your exercise routine. The good news is DOMS generally resolves within a few days and your muscles will grow back bigger and stronger.
These are sudden and painful involuntary contractions of the muscle. Common causes can include electrolyte imbalance, fatigue, dehydration and nerve irritation. To reduce the agony of a cramp, it is important to stretch the affected muscle and correct the underlying problem.
Please keep in mind the information provided is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute to consult your treating health professional. If you have any specific questions or require assistance with your individual treatment requirements please do not hesitate to contact
MyFamily Physio Northern Beaches, Sydney.