How Can I Know If I've Pulled a Muscle?

Whether it was from sneezing too hard, chasing the kids around the yard or in a friendly game of backyard whiffle ball, many of us have felt that sharp pain go up our backs, hamstrings or some other often-used body part. If you’ve experienced this type of pain, you’ve likely pulled a muscle before, but how can you be sure that is what you’re experiencing in the moment?

Our AFC Urgent Care Athens, TN team provides some helpful information on muscle strain below, so keep reading!

What Is a Pulled Muscle?

A pulled muscle, or a muscle strain, happens when your muscle is overstretched or torn. A pulled muscle usually occurs as a result of fatigue, overuse or improper use of a specific muscle.

Strains can happen to any muscle on the body, but they’re most common in the lower back, neck, shoulder and hamstring, which is the muscle behind your thigh. If you’ve experienced or are currently experiencing the symptoms that we’ve listed below, you’ve probably pulled a muscle.

Symptoms of Muscle Strain

  • Sudden onset of pain
  • Soreness
  • Limited range of movement
  • Bruising or discoloration
  • Swelling
  • A “knotted-up” feeling
  • Muscle spasms
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness

Are There Ways to Prevent a Pulled Muscle?

Definitely. Because muscle strains usually happen when you haven’t properly warmed up before exercising, your muscles are extremely stiff or you’ve overexerted yourself, the best ways to avoid a potential muscle strain are by regularly exercising and stretching before your daily exercise.

We’ve listed some other effective prevention techniques below.

Ways to Prevent a Pulled Muscle

  • Maintain good standing and sitting posture. Hunching while standing and sitting puts more stress on your lower back muscles. So, if you spend a long time in one position, try to alternate putting one foot and then the other on a low footstool, which can help decrease the stress put on your back muscles.
  • Lift objects carefully. A lot of pulled muscles happen when lifting heavy objects. To avoid this, keep your back straight, bend at the knees and always lift with your legs. Hold the weight close to your body, and don’t lift and twist at the same time.
  • Lose weight if you’re overweight.
  • Take precautions to prevent falls, such as keeping your floors uncovered and holding the handrail when walking up and down stairs.

Have you pulled a muscle? Don’t wait to get the care you need—visit our AFC Urgent Care Athens, TN team today!