What Does It Mean to Pull a Muscle?

Whether you live an active lifestyle, work a physically demanding job, or just happen to be unlucky enough to experience it, the pain of pulling a muscle can happen suddenly. Also known as a muscle strain, a pulled muscle occurs when you’ve overstretched or torn a muscle. This most commonly happens when you feel fatigued, are overusing the muscle, or the muscle in question isn’t being used correctly. You might feel a sudden rush of pain, as well as soreness, limited mobility, weakness, and/or spasms. While strains can happen to any muscle, the neck, shoulders, lower back, and hamstrings are among the most frequently injured. 

If you have more of a mild or moderate strain, you can probably expect your symptoms to fade within a few weeks, but more severe strains can take several months to fully heal. Depending on the degree of your pulled muscle, you may be able to treat the problem at home with the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. More severe strains may require medical attention, such as surgery or physical therapy. As soon as you pull a muscle, it’s in your best interest to rest the muscle and try not to use it as much as you normally would. This gives it time to heal so you don’t keep re-injuring it. 

Are you worried you severely strained a muscle? Learn whether you need medical treatment by scheduling an appointment with one of our board-certified orthopaedic surgeons. They can examine your muscle and determine if you may need more advanced care to properly recover from your injury.