The Best Treatment for a Pulled Muscle

Pulled muscles can be extremely painful and incapacitating. To get back in action quicker, use a combination of rest, medications, and hot or cold therapy. Taking good care of yourself in the initial phase will often shorten the healing process. For severe pain see a doctor to make sure it isn’t something more serious.


When a muscle is pulled or strained it has been damaged on the cellular level. Repairing this damage takes time, with the amount of time depending on the extent of the damage. Severe pulls or strains can take weeks to heal. Using the injured muscle during the healing process only serves to tear or destroy the repair efforts of the body. It is a good idea to rest the muscle as much as possible during the healing process to allow the body to repair the muscle with out interference. Continue to rest it for a day or so after the muscle stops hurting, then bring it back to work gradually to allow the repaired muscle to adjust to work.


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A pulled muscle can be painful and often become swollen. Several types of medications can help with these symptoms. For severe strains you should see a physician who can recommend a dose for over the counter products or prescribe medications. The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories will reduce pain and lower inflammation. Inflammation can make it harder for the body to repair itself as the areas blood flow is compromised by the over inflated cells. Most non-steroidal, like ibuprofen, are available over the counter.

Muscle relaxants and pain medication can also be helpful during the healing process. Muscle relaxants will do just that, relax the muscle which encourages blood flow to the affected area. This type of medication may make you drowsy so read the warnings and follow the precautions. A pain medication, like Tramadol, will not help with the swelling or to relax the muscle but will help alleviate some of the pain making the healing process more bearable.

Ice or Heat

The use of ice therapy when the initial injury occurs and heat therapy a few days later can be helpful. Applying ice to the area for 20 minutes several times a day can increase blood flow, reduce pain, lower inflammation and speed healing. Ice therapy can be used as many times a day as a person has time for as long as it is for the 20-minute interval; any longer and the cold can start damaging tissue instead of helping. Heat therapy can help break down any remaining damaged cells and will also increase blood flow.