Pulled muscles are a prevalent injury among people of all ages. Though they’re a common sports injury, pulled muscles can impact anyone, regardless of their activity level.
While you may be tempted to ignore a pulled muscle until it goes away on its own, doing so could lead to further problems. Read on to learn more.
What is a Pulled Muscle?
A pulled muscle is also known as a muscle strain. It occurs when a muscle is stretched too far, causing small tears in the tissue. A strain can be caused by sudden trauma to the tissue, like a fall, or overuse.
Pulled muscles can range from minor to severe. In either case, it’s important to rest and ice the affected area. For moderate to severe strains, professional medical care may be needed for a complete recovery.
The Risks of Ignoring a Pulled Muscle
Ignoring a pulled muscle and carrying on with your normal activities can lead to:
When a strain doesn’t heal effectively, the muscle tissue won’t return to its full strength. This puts you at risk of recurrent muscle strains, which may become gradually more severe.
Scar Tissue Formation
When a pulled muscle heals, the body forms new muscle and scar tissue. If you ignore a pulled muscle, the body will likely develop more scar tissue, which isn’t as strong or flexible as healthy muscle tissue.
A Ruptured Muscle
Even a minor pulled muscle can progress to a full rupture if you continue to strain the muscle with physical activity. Muscle ruptures are more painful and take significantly longer to heal than strains.
Other Soft Tissue Injuries
With a muscle strain, your body will compensate for the injury by placing increased strain on other soft tissues. Over time, this can lead to additional injuries.
Untreated pulled muscles may never heal effectively, eventually leading to a chronic pain condition. Chronic pain can be debilitating and may hold you back from your favorite activities.
If you’re struggling with a pulled muscle despite at-home care, schedule an appointment at Hernando Orthopaedic for a comprehensive treatment plan.