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How can I treat a muscle strain?

Peggy Brill
Physical Therapy
Muscle strain is like a paper cut inside the muscle; that tear in the muscle can create a lot of pain. In this video, physical therapist Peggy Brill explains how an ingredient in emu oil works to promote healing and pain relief by reducing swelling.
To treat a muscle strain, the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation) is generally preferred when access to an athletic trainer or physician is not available. Fully immobilizing a strained muscle can contribute to muscle atrophy; small, controlled movements are ideal. Also, placing the strained muscle into a mild stretch, without pain or aggravation, allows new muscle fibers to lie down properly. As healing improves, stronger, full range-of-motion movements are encouraging the injury to return to full strength. As the injury advances through this phase, more sport-specific activities can begin (running, jumping, cutting, quicker starts or stops). Pain and muscle strength compared to the opposite side of the body are two excellent factors to help guide the timeline of healing for strains. (This answer provided for NATA by the Weber State University Athletic Training Education Program.)
Jill A. Grimes, MD
Family Medicine

You can treat a muscle strain using the RICE formula. RICE stands for: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. A bit of pain-reliever/anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen can also go a long way toward treating injuries.
Your doctor can show you the best way to compression wrap an extremity, plus possibly prescribe muscle relaxants or stronger anti-inflammatory medicine.


Perhaps most importantly, your doctor may prescribe physical therapy, where you will learn strengthening, flexibility, and stability for your injury to fully rehab.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.