How can I treat a muscle strain?

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.)

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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.