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What’s the best way to treat a pulled muscle?

Posted Oct 01 2008 8:12pm

Muscle pulls are a hazard of exercising. The immediate treatment is RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Stop exercising immediately, apply an ice bag wrapped in a towel on the injured part, wrap a bandage loosely over the ice bag, and raise the injured part above the heart. Remove the ice after 15 minutes and reapply it once an hour for the first few hours. After a few days of rest, you can start a program of massage and stretching.

The only drugs that have been shown to help heal muscles are anabolic steroids or beta agonist asthma medications such as clenbutarol or albuterol. Anabolic steroids can have dangerous side effects and are illegal. Clenbutarol and albuterol appear to be safe in the low doses that are required to hasten muscle healing, but have not been approved by the FDA for this purpose in the United States. You can take pain medicines such as ibuprofen, but they do not speed healing. They may make matters worse if you mask the pain that warns you not to use the injured muscle. Cortisone-type injections block pain and reduce swelling, but they may actually delay healing. The most effective treatment is rest. You should not exercise that part of your body until you can do it without feeling pain. When you return to the activity that caused the injury, start out at reduced intensity and duration, then gradually work back up to your normal program. Stop immediately if you feel pain.

If you have chronic pain in several joints or muscle groups, see reports #J106 and #G115.

More Sports Injuries Reports

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