Pulled a Muscle? Don’t Stress – Just Do This!
OUCH! You thought your workout session was going great. You bet your last record. You were dripping sweat. You were ready to start a fitness Instagram. And then it happened. You pulled a muscle and nothing has quite felt like this before. So what do you do?
You panic. You start shaking from pain and you have no idea what to do next. Or you get up and try find help. Either way, the next thing you do probably isn’t the best thing for your poor muscle. So what do you do next?
Pause. Take a serious breather to evaluate
The worst thing you can do is do something immediately. Your instincts will tell you to get up and do something or to start panicking. Instead stop for a moment and evaluate the muscle you think you pulled.
You may just have cramps. The way to tell is ask whether it’s just one muscle or muscle group that hurts suddenly and sharply. You’ll know you stuffed up somewhere along the way.
Okay so I really have strained a muscle, what now?
Check out the muscle you strained. How’s it looking? Probably not great, right? If it’s red, flushed, inflamed or swollen, elevate it immediately.
This will help reduce the flow of blood to the area, reducing swelling. This is actually the first step in what the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases calls the RICE method. The RICE method includes Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Now let’s check out what else RICE has to offer.
Ice ice baby…
I don’t need to tell you how good ice feels on a sore muscle – you’ve probably used your fair share of frozen pea bags on sores! The reason why ice feels so good is it helps control swelling and inflammation around the injured area, according to University Health Services.
Just remember – don’t apply ice directly to the sore. Instead wrap it in something or use, you know, the trusty frozen pea bag. 😉
Compress that bad boy
Next you need to apply some pressure to your pain. I know. But trust me. If you have it, the best thing you can use is medical tape or an elastic bandage. Don’t have these with you right now? Don’t stress – a piece of clothing will do for now.
Now for the obvious, get some rest!
You need to take some time off for your muscle to recover quickly.How you rest depends on the muscle you injured. Sprained your ankle? Take some time off walking on it. If the injury is serious, you may need to go to a health practitioner to get a splint, cast or other treatment.