What Does It Mean to Pull a Muscle?

August 3, 2021
What Does It Mean to Pull a Muscle?- AFC Urgent Care

If you’ve stood up too quickly or bent the wrong way and you’ve felt a sharp pain go up your back or down your leg, you’ve likely pulled a muscle before. We’ve probably all heard the term “pull a muscle” before, but do you actually know what it means?

Our AFC Urgent Care Chattanooga team explains the term and provides some further information on it below, so keep reading!

What Is a Pulled Muscle?

A pulled muscle, or a muscle strain, is the stretching or tearing of muscle fibers. Most muscle strains happen for one of two reasons: either the muscle has been stretched beyond its limits or it has been forced to contract too strongly.

In mild cases, only a few muscle fibers are stretched or torn, and the muscle remains intact and strong. In severe cases, however, the strained muscle may be torn and unable to function properly. We’ve listed the most common symptoms of muscle strains below.

Muscle Strain Symptoms

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

Will I Need to Go to the Doctor for a Muscle Strain?

Most muscle strains are fairly mild, and you won’t necessarily need medical treatment for the muscle to recover. If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, try some home remedies to recover, such as the PRICE formula—protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation.

If home remedies don’t bring any relief within at least 24 hours, visit our AFC center for some treatment.

Muscle Strain Grades

  • Grade 1—This is a mild strain, with only a few muscle fibers being stretched or torn. Although the injured muscle is tender and painful, it has normal strength.
  • Grade 2—This is a moderate strain, with a greater number of injured fibers and more severe muscle pain and tenderness. There is also mild swelling, noticeable loss of strength and sometimes a bruise.
  • Grade 3—This serious strain tears the muscle all the way through, sometimes causing a “pop” sensation as the muscle rips into two separate pieces or shears away from its specific tendon. If you experience this sensation, seek emergency medical care.

Have you pulled a muscle? Our AFC Urgent Care Chattanooga can help, so don’t hesitate to visit us!

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