Muscle strains

Fact Checked

Muscle strains occur as a result of tearing or stretching of the tendons or muscles. Tendons are fibrous tissues that connect the muscles and the bones together.  People often experience strains in the lower back and in their hamstring muscle located at the backside of the thigh.


Some of the symptoms of muscle strains include:back pain

  • Pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Swelling
  • Limited ability or inability to move certain joints and the affected muscles

When to seek medical help

While mild muscle strains can be easily alleviated at home, see your doctor if the following problems take place:

  • You are not able to walk four or more steps without feeling any pain
  • You are not able to move the affected muscle
  • You are feeling numbness in the affected area
  • The discomfort is interrupting your daily work routine


Individuals that take workplace approved first aid and CPR courses learn how to recognize and manage muscle strains by using the following techniques.

1. Prevent more injuries and control swelling using RICE:

  • Rest—do not use the affected muscle for a day at least
  • Ice—apply an ice pack on the affected area to control swelling, for 10-15 minutes
  • Compress—gently wrap an elastic bandage—not too tightly as it may discourage circulation
  • Elevate—raise the affected area above your heart level, if practical, for one day at least

2. Reduce pain and inflammation

  • You can do this by taking over-the-counter pain killers such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Do NOT give aspirin to children and teenagers under 18 years of age.

3. Continue care

  • Ice and elevate for every 3-4 hours

4. Call a doctor if

  • After 1-2 days, the person is not able to move or apply any stress or weight on the affected region
  • The area seems to be clammy, cool, pale or simply changes color or appearance
  • You feel a tingling sensation or numbness in the affected are
  • You are experiencing an unusual sort of pan
  • You need to consult your doctor or health care provider to get some advice about how to continue exercising or working

Call 911 or a local emergency number if the following complications arise:

  • You heard a ‘pop’ sound while getting injured
  • You are not able to walk at all
  • You experience fever, open cuts and severe bleeding along with swelling and pain

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