What is a Muscle Strain or Tear?

Cheyne General Health, Lifestyle Health, Sports Injury

With the recent completion of the Gold Coast Commonwealth games, it seems a good time to talk about muscle injuries.

Muscle strains and tears don’t only effect elite athletes, they more often effect regular people like you and I. This can be whether you’re physically active or not, even with good nutrition and/or exercise. They may occur from sports injuries or even household chores.

Muscle strains and tears can happen at different parts of the muscle. Muscles include the muscle belly (the moving part), the tendons that join the muscle to the bone and the origin and insertion points of the muscle. Injuries can occur in any of these areas.

Grades of Muscle Tear

There are three grades of muscle strain and tear. They are categorised as follows:

  • Grade I Tears

    Less than 10% of the fibres are torn, this is called overstretching.

  • Grade II Tears

    10-50% of the muscle fibres are involved, this is called a partial tear.

  • Grade III Tears

    Over 50% of fibres involved, this is called an extensive tear or complete rupture.

Possible Causes

  • A previously injured or poorly healed muscle.
  • A previously injured muscle with scar tissue that prevents normal use.
  • An unusually tight muscle that’s not able to be used properly.
  • Not stretching or warming up before exercise.
  • Long periods of time exposed to cold temperatures ( eg weather).
  • Over exertion.

Treatment Plans

Consider seeing a Chiropractor to help manage these injuries when they occur. Chiropractors deal with possible joint involvement, especially the spine, that may be due to the actual injury, or from compensations caused by the muscle imbalance caused by the injury.

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The first 24-72 hours – immobilise and use RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation).

Should I use Hot or Cold Treatment?

Use whichever gives the most relief. Cold is better for an acute injury and heat is better for muscle pain and relaxation. Alternating hot and cold sometimes gets a better result.

Moist heat is better than dry heat, but heat is not recommended if you have decreased sensation or poor circulation. It shouldn’t be used over acute injuries or malignancies. Use for between 20-30 minutes.

Usually, ice or cold should not be used for more than 10-15 minutes at a time with an hour between uses. Ice packs are good for acute sprains in the first 24-72 hours. Hot and cold feels better with muscle pain eg neck and low back pain. Cold shouldn’t be used with poor sensation or circulation, swollen veins or open wounds.

Don't forget to Speak to a Chiropractor

Don’t forget to ask your chiropractor or health professional for advice and treatment to help with your injury.

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Reference: Muscle Strains Revisited. Dynamic Chiropractic.

Mick Leone.

 https://www.Dynamic chiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?=370095&no_paginate=true&p_friendly=true&no_b=true


Author: Cheyne

Cheyne graduated from Sydney College of Chiropractic and Osteopathy in 1984. She also has postgraduate qualifications in paediatric chiropractic care. Before joining Clayfield Chiropractic Clinic in 1993, Cheyne enjoyed seven years in a Sydney based practice. Cheyne has 5 children and 3 grandchildren.