First aid for muscle strains:
Avoid activities that cause pain, swelling, or discomfort. But don’t avoid all physical activity. Some light movement can help to prevent muscle atrophy (wasting).
Apply ice to the injured area for 15-20 minutes at a time, every 2-3 hours for the first 24-48 hours. This will help to reduce swelling and pain.
Wrap the injured area with an elastic bandage or compression sleeve. This will help to reduce swelling and support the muscle. Be careful not to wrap the bandage too tightly, as this can restrict blood flow.
Elevate the injured area above the level of the heart whenever possible. This will help to reduce swelling.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can also be helpful for relieving pain and inflammation.
When to see a doctor
See a doctor if:
- The pain is severe or does not improve after a few days
- You have swelling, redness, or warmth around the injured area
- You have difficulty moving the injured muscle
- You have a fever
- You have other symptoms, such as numbness or tingling in the injured area
Tips for preventing muscle strains
There are a few things you can do to help prevent muscle strains:
- Warm up before exercise and cool down afterwards.
- Stretch regularly.
- Listen to your body and rest when you are tired.
- Use proper lifting techniques.
- Stay hydrated.
By following these tips, you can help to keep your muscles healthy and injury-free.
Additional tips for first aid for muscle strains:
- If you are unable to move the injured area, or if the pain is severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
- If you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart disease, talk to your doctor before taking over-the-counter pain relievers.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before taking over-the-counter pain relievers.
Recovery from muscle strains
The recovery time for a muscle strain depends on the severity of the injury. Most mild strains heal within a few weeks. More severe strains may take several months to heal completely.
During the recovery period, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and to rest the injured muscle. You may also need to do physical therapy exercises to help strengthen the muscle and improve its range of motion.