Everybody that suddenly develops Pulled Muscle Symptoms uses the phrase "I just pulled something!" or "I pulled a muscle."
But what does 'pulled muscle' mean, really?
Is it just a tweak? Is it an actual injury? Is it a muscle problem or actually a tendon problem?
Symptoms of pulled muscles can be mild or debilitating, but the important thing to know is that pulled muscles are -really- tendon strains or tendon tears.
So what exactly is a pulled muscle?
Unfortunately, it's not a very cut and dry answer.
Basically, you either have:
a 'tweaked' muscle where there is spasm and pain but no injury, or you have a 'strain' which means the tendon is stretched (which technically is an injury) but not torn, or you have a 'torn tendon', meaning up to 5% of the tendon is ripped or torn.
More than 5%, and you're talking more about tendon tear and tendon rupture. Follow this link for more information on tendon rupture, using Bicep Tendon Rupture as an example.
Pulled muscles really aren't damage to a muscle, per se. While you -can- get actual muscle tears, almost always you get injury at the tendon, specifically at the weakest points where muscle meets tendon, and tendon meets bone.
A tweaked muscle just needs to chill out and relax. Massage, icing, and Magnesium, and making sure you're hydrated will help this calm down faster. Don't leave it to time and rest. Same thing for a strain. This will take a while longer to 'heal', and you HAVE to make sure you get the muscle to relax to take the tension of the irritated tendon. A tendon tear is a different thing. You HAVE to give it time to heal and repair the rip, you want to keep the muscle loose and the growing scar tissue soft and supple. Use the options above to help with this.
So what causes pulled muscles?
Ultimately, too much tension on a structure causes problems.
Constant Over Tension
Muscles get tight and stay tight. Sometimes they are working harder than they should, or they are compensating for other structures that aren't doing their job.
If there is already too much constant tension on a tendon, and then you do some activity or perform some movement, it can just be to much.
The muscle will either jump into spasm and stay in spasm. This feels like a pulled muscle, it can feel like an injury.
See: What Is Tendonitis
Maybe this is the tendon stretching (it's NOT supposed to do that) or maybe it actually rips.
The symptoms of a pulled muscle vary, depending on the exact situation, the specific person, and the extent of the 'pull'.
Muscle Tweaks generally hurt and ache. You know you should stay off it for a while. These are usually short term.
Muscle Strains generally hurt and ache too. But this lasts longer and can be very stubborn, and maybe hurts a little worse. Longer term.
Muscle Tears are small but significant tendon injuries. These symptoms are burning, sharp, and/or dull pain, and the body may prevent you from using the limb or area. You'll definitely be limping or favoring the area.
Technically, anything bigger than a 5% rip is classified as a 'tear'.
This can take a LONG time to heal, and you will very likely have recurring bouts of pain, and you will definitely have a Tendonitis dynamic and a Pain Causing Dynamic.
This requires professional help, or knowing how to fix it yourself.
Pulled muscle symptoms can be the same for a tweak, strain, or tear. Just because it's severe, debilitating pain doesn't necessarily mean that you have a 'bad' injury'. A tweak can be just as debilitating as a tear, depending on how your system is responding.
Pulled Hamstring Muscle
Pulled Rib Muscle
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