I’ve had to deal with muscle strains (also known as pulled muscle) often. Most of them not very serious. But there is this muscle strain-related incident I’ll never forget. It happened in one of those camps organized to teach youths how to be self-reliant. This young lady, the prettiest in the camp I must say, was holding a placard in front of us. The placard was a sort of teaching aid to illustrate some points. I bet me and most of the young men in the hall were paying more attention to the lady than to what the resource person was saying. She was nice to look at. And besides, it cost nothing to look at at her
Suddenly, a small shriek escaped her pretty mouth. At the same time she dropped the placard and grabbed her thighs. While we were still in shock from seeing our goddess behaving strangely, she crashed to the ground, holding the back of her thigh screaming in real pain. We recovered fast enough from the shock. Then it was an almighty rush to be the first to be a knight in shining armor. She cried uncontrollably while the lucky guys to reach her first were pounding the useless muscle. I couldn’t tell if the blows to her thighs were the cause of the tears or the muscle strain.
The pains left after a while. But she walked with a noticeable limb for the rest of week. That is an extreme form of muscle pain. We all know the feeling when it hits. That sudden onset of pain; that feeling that a malicious being is knotting up your muscles in anger; stiffness and inability to move the affected body part; muscles spasms as if something is trying to force their way out of your skin; these are the all too familiar symptoms of muscle strain.
A popular held belief is that muscle strains is restricted to athletes and those involved in rigorous exercises. The truth is, it can happen to just about anybody. And you can get it from just taking a nice stroll in the neighborhood. But an undeniable fact is, it tends to happen more to people who are involved in sports.
Inadequate warm ups, like doing stretches properly before any physical activity can cause it. Over-tasking the muscles and tiredness are also major causes of muscle strains. I guess our goddess got hers for standing on her feet for too long. The poor dear.
The point being made is, there is no single factor that can be implicated as the cause of muscle strain. Sometimes, an innocent act like picking a bottle of soft drink can cause a sudden and painful stiffening of the muscles. The result is a shattered bottle as you let go in reaction to the pain.
a. Try and lose that excess weight you don’t need
b. Keep your back straight when lifting heavy objects. Allow the legs to do the lifting and hold the object close to the body.
c. Don’t sit or stay in one position for too long. Always take breaks to move around a bit. Your chair should provide good support for the back. Using a pillow to support the back might be a good idea. And importantly too, it is advisable to maintain a good posture while sitting or standing.
d. The shoes you wear too can be a factor in muscle strains. Always wear comfortable shoes that fit snugly.
d. Taking regular exercises are also recommended. However, while working out, endeavor to do it properly. Avoid overdoing them or causing harm to your body in a bid to achieve results fast.
Treating everyday muscle strains is all about knowing the right first aid to apply. This can be very handy. For instance you don’t want a common muscle strain to ruin that perfect wedding you’ve been planning in the last two months. It could suddenly hit you at any point. The best first aid for muscle strains is RICE for rest, ice, compression and elevation.
RICE is best used for serious muscle strains like the one that happened to our fair goddess at the camp. Unfortunately, nobody knew anything about RICE.
a. Rest– rest the muscles for a few days. This is most recommended if movement causes one to winch in pain.
b. Ice– if their is ice around, apply it to the injured muscle to reduce swelling. It is better not to put the ice directly on the skin. Wrap it in a clean cloth, like a towel for instance.
c. Compression– wrap a bandage around the affected area to reduce swelling. An elastic bandage is preferable. However, don’t wrap it too tightly not to impede blood circulation
d. Elevation– try as much as possible to keep the muscle higher than the level of your heart. For the legs, lying down and putting up your legs is enough.
However, while doing the rest thing, be careful not do over-rest the muscle as it can cause stiffness. Start light exercises like stretching as soon as it’s practicable. For severe muscle strain, the kind that leaves you incapacitated for very long periods, it is recommended you see a doctor. Physical therapy might be included as part of the treatment.
So what has being you experience with muscle strains? Do you have any eye popping stories about muscle strains and how you dealt with it? We would love to hear your story. Even the boring ones too.