A pulled muscle, or muscle strain, is among the most common types of injuries sustained by athletes and bodybuilders. It’s characterized by the physical tearing (full or partial) of muscle fibers and/or its connected tendons, usually occurring during a strenuous activity. While most pulled muscles will heal on their own without the need for professional medical assistance, seeking massage therapy can speed up the healing process.
Before we reveal the healing power of massage therapy, let’s first discuss the signs and symptoms of a pulled muscle. While no cases are the same, some of the most commonly reported symptoms of a pulled muscle include throbbing pain, swelling, redness, weakness, and/or limited mobility.
Massage therapy has been used to treat and prevent a wide variety of adverse conditions, including pulled muscles. A professional massage therapist can manipulate the injured tissue, encouraging greater blood flow to the affected region. And when blood flows to the injured tissue more freely, the pulled muscle will receive oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to help it heal faster and without further complication.
In addition to increased blood flow, massage therapy can also relieve the pain and discomfort associated with a pulled muscle. Multiple studies have found massage therapy to offer significant relief of pain, more so than medication pain relievers. The general belief is that massage promotes the release of pain-relieving hormones like endorphins, easing the discomfort of a pulled muscle and similar injuries.
If you believe that you experienced a pulled muscle, there are a couple of things you can do to help. Avoid activities that caused the strain, or create pain, until the injured muscle tissue has repaired itself. Depending on the severity of the pull, it may take just two days or it could take several months. The good news is that most pulled muscles will heal in just a couple days time.
You can also ease the pain and inflammation of a pulled muscle by applying a cold or hot compress. Cold compresses should be used during the first 48 hours of the injury, after this time, it’s best to switch to a hot compress. Applying a hot compress immediately after sustaining a pulled muscle may lead to further inflammation, which is why it’s recommended that you wait at least 48 hours.
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