Muscle strains can happen to anyone at any given time. You don’t need to be a sprinter to pull a hamstring, and you don’t need to be a bodybuilder to tear a bicep.
If you’ve ever had a muscle strain, you might’ve been recommended to visit a physiotherapist by your doctor, a family member, or a friend. With no previous knowledge on the benefits of physiotherapy, it’s easy to choose medication as a temporary measure to reduce and control pain.
However, choosing physiotherapy will treat the symptoms AND provide education on the extent of the injury, look at possible causes, and ways to prevent recurrence.
Strains and sprains may sound similar and are often confused, but they are two completely different types of injuries. Both muscle strains and ligament sprains can be excruciatingly painful and your physiotherapist will be able to assess the injured tissue accurately to develop an effective treatment plan.
A strain is the stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon. The tendon is the connection of the muscle to the bone. A sprain, on the other hand, is a stretching of the ligaments which is tissue that connects two bones together.
Of course, any muscle in your body is subject to strains, but like any other injury, some occur more often than others. The most common muscle strains in the lower body occur within the hamstring, quadriceps, calf and groin muscles. In the upper body, the biceps and the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder are most vulnerable to muscle strain injuries.
Upon your first visit, our physiotherapist will begin their assessment by gaining background knowledge on why, how and when your injury occurred.
Afterward, a physical examination will take place which will evaluate the extent of the muscle injury. Muscle strains are classified as 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree which defines the severity and establishes guidelines for the treatment plan and anticipated recovery time. The presence of bruising will indicate that there has been some tearing of muscle fibres – and the location and extent of the bruising helps the physiotherapist determine the degree of injury.
After a thorough assessment, the physiotherapist will create a treatment plan that will address the acute stage of your specific injury as well as long-term recovery goals. The rehabilitation process also includes education and suggestions to prevent recurrent and future injuries.
Physiotherapists choose, as indicated by the specific injury, from a variety of different methods of treatment to treat the injured muscle.
Nancy Baxter, Physiotherapist