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Causes of a Pulled Muscle and First Aid Treatment

A muscle pull or muscle strain can happen in any muscle but it’s common in the neck, hamstring (muscle behind the thigh), lower back, and shoulder. muscle pull occurs when the muscle is overstretched or torn mostly due to overuse, fatigue, or improper use of a muscle. it causes pain and may limit movement in the affected area. it can be treated at home with heat, ice, anti-inflammatory medications and it may require medical attention if the strain is severe.

Symptoms of a pulled muscle

Muscle strain is usually felt when it occurs. Symptoms include:

  • sudden pain
  • soreness
  • limited range of movement
  • bruising or discoloration
  • a “knotted-up” feeling
  • muscle spasms
  • stiffness and weakness

symptoms that require immediate medical attention to avoid complications include:

  • An audible pop sound at the time of injury
  • loss of muscle function i.e. unable to use the muscle
  • severe swelling or pain

Causes of a pulled muscle

muscle strain can occur either from injuries or trauma due to:

  • rigorous exercise and not warming up before physical activity
  • poor flexibility
  • poor conditioning or posture
  • overexertion and fatigue

An acute strain may occur when you:

  • lose your footing or slip
  • jump
  • run
  • throw or lift something heavy
  • lift something in an awkward position or posture

A chronic pulled muscle  is as a result of repetitive movement due to sports activities (baseball, golf tennis, etc.) or poor position while working at the desk

First aid for a pulled muscle

You can relieve and promote healing of Mild or moderate pulled muscle with RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

You need to rest, stay-a way or avoid activities that can increased pain in muscle for like two days, then you can slowly begin to use the affected muscle because too much rest weakens your muscle and can prolong the healing process.


Immediately after the muscle sprain occurs, apply ice on it to minimize swelling. you may wrap ice in a towel or use an ice pack but do not apply directly on your skin.


Wrap the affected area with an elastic bandage to reduce swelling and try not to make it too tight to allow free flow of blood.


Try to raise the injured area above the level of the heart to reduce swelling.

You may also use an OTC anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen (Advil), Naproxen (Aleve). they also help to relieve the pain and swelling.

Ways to prevent Muscle strains

The tips below will help you reduce your chances of straining your muscle

  • try not to stay on one position for too long, you can move about and change positions frequently. ensure your chair provides good support for your lower back and keep your knees at the same level with your hips.
  • Try to maintain good posture while standing or sitting.
  • carefully lift objects and avoids twisting at the same time
  • Take safety measures to prevent falling like avoiding slippery surfaces and holding handrails on the stairways etc.
  • you will need to lose weight if you are overweight
    and wear properly fitted shoes


Muscles are stiffer in lower temperatures and that’s why muscle pull is common during cold weather. in such a condition, you can prevent muscle strain by warming up and stretching out. Also starts exercises slowly and gradually build up your activities. see your doctor if symptoms of muscle pull worsen.

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Coach Amuda

Naturopathic Doctor & Founder, Green Remedies Int’l

Coach Amuda is a Holistic Practitioner and the C.E.O of Green Remedies International, a wellness company that specializes in tackling different health challenges through Natural, Organic, and Holistic Medicines.

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