How Physiotherapy Can Help In Managing Muscle Strains
Muscle strains are common, and they can happen to any one of us at any time. If you have ever experienced a muscle strain, your doctor, family member, or friend may have recommended seeing a physical therapist. Going for pain-relieving medication is a temporary measure for relief. However, opting for physiotherapy for muscle strain treatment can help treat symptoms, understand the extent of damage, investigate possible causes, and help you know ways of how to prevent the recurrence of muscle strains.
What Is The Difference Between Muscle Sprains And Muscle Strains?
Muscle strains and Muscle sprains may sound the same, but they are two completely different types of injury. Both muscle strains and muscle sprains can be excruciatingly painful. But a physiotherapist can differentiate between the two and can accurately assess the damaged tissue and develop an effective treatment plan. A muscle strain is a stretch or tear in a muscle or tendon. Tendons connect muscles to bones.
A muscle sprain, on the other hand, is a stretch of a ligament, the tissue that connects two bones. A muscle sprain can most commonly be found on an ankle. A mild sprain can be treated at home using the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) and some doctors prescribed painkillers, but a severe muscle sprain requires surgery to repair the torn ligaments.
What Happens When You Have A Muscle Strain?
There are varying degrees of muscle strain, from being not too severe to being severe. Symptoms of muscle strains include pain, swelling, stiffness, and bruising. According to the severity, muscle strains can be classified as:
- Grade 1 Muscle Strain – One may not feel or see the symptoms until the activity is finished. Stretching and contracting muscles may cause muscle stiffness, cramps, and mild pain, but there is no loss of strength or movement.
- Grade 2 Muscle Strain – In this level of severity, pain occurs immediately upon stretching or contracting a muscle, resulting in swelling, muscle weakness, and limited movement due to pain.
- Grade 3 Muscle Strain– These muscle strains are very severe. People who have these can’t walk because of the burning pain. The muscle is completely torn, and large clumps of muscle tissue are observed. One may experience rapid pain, swelling, bruising, and complete loss of function.
Which Are The Common Locations Of Muscle Strains?
The most common locations where muscle strains occur in the lower body are the hamstrings, quadriceps, calf, and groin muscles. In the upper body, the biceps brachii and rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder are most susceptible to muscle strain injuries.
How Can Physiotherapy Help with Muscle Strain Treatment?
When you visit a physiotherapist for a muscle strain, he/she will first begin evaluation and gather background information about how, when, and why your injury occurred. Post this, he/she will undertake a physical examination to assess the extent of muscle damage. The physiotherapist will then categorize the muscle strain into grades 1, 2, or 3 to define severity and provide guidelines for muscle strain treatment, along with the estimated recovery time. The presence of bruises indicates that some muscle fibers have been torn. The location and extent of the bruise help physical therapists determine the extent of the damage. Once the thorough evaluation is over, the physical therapist will ask you about your long recovery goals and will then create a muscle strain treatment plan for your specific injury. The rehabilitation process and guidance by the physiotherapist will also include education and suggestions about recurring injuries and how to avoid them in the future.
Depending on the severity of the muscle strain, the physiotherapist will choose one or a combination of a few therapeutic modalities from the following:
Heat & Ice
Heat therapy increases blood flow, promoting healing and muscle relaxation. Ice, on the other hand, is known to help in controlling pain. Heat therapy can be through hot water bottles, electric heating pads, hot towels, and hot baths. Alternating heat and cryotherapy can help reduce pain and swelling caused by muscle strains.
Kinesio Taping is another one among the list of muscle strain treatments that can help patients heal and recover. Physiotherapists have a variety of tape products in their toolkits to apply proven taping techniques. The tape provides compression and support and can also be used to relax or relieve injured muscles of the muscle strain.
One of the primary focus areas for a physiotherapist after a muscle strain is improving the patient’s mobility and range of motion. Muscle strains can affect the ability to move joints/muscles as easily and as comfortably as before, leading to the chances of re-injury in the future. Through stretching exercises as a part of physiotherapy, it is possible to loosen muscles, and increase flexibility and range of motion.
Perhaps one of the most important and beneficial parts of physical therapy is injury-related strengthening exercises that help maintain strength in the area surrounding the injury and allow the affected muscles to safely regain strength. The physiotherapist uses a combination of strength exercises to restore mobility along with strength and function. This helps you return to your previous activities, allows you to work faster, and prevents future injuries.
Another one of the muscle strain treatments is cryotherapy. Inflammation and swelling can be reduced through cryotherapy. As a part of this modality, the physiotherapist will recommend the use of ice packs and cold-water baths at the affected area of the muscle strain.
Compression helps reduce swelling and inflammation, leading to pain relief and accelerating the healing process. Static compression can also be used in conjunction with elastic bandages to apply even pressure and prevent further swelling. Active compression can be applied to remove excess fluid from the injured area. This also increases the oxygenated blood flow necessary for tissue repair and healing of the muscle strain.
Soft tissue mobilization increases circulation and helps relax tense muscles, which helps heal damaged tissue. By applying pressure to damaged muscle tissue, excess fluid, and cellular waste also get removed. Massaging as a part of physiotherapy for muscle strain treatment can help relieve pain and increase the range of motion.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) relieves pain caused by muscle tension.
Ultrasound helps break up adhesions very effectively, increasing blood circulation and mobility.
Shock Wave Therapy
Shock wave therapy brings high energy to the painful area, promoting regeneration and healing.
Laser as a part of muscle strain treatment helps reduce inflammation, pain, and healing of damaged tissue and increases intracellular metabolism, thereby reducing overall healing time.
Exercises For Range of Motion
Physiotherapists use hands-on techniques to maintain the joint’s range of motion. Initially, simple range-of-motion exercises are performed to maintain the mobility of the injured area. Measures are also taken after treatment of the injury, through the use of crutches, braces, or pain-relieving procedures.
When Should You See a Physiotherapist For Muscle Strain?
It is important to follow the RICE (Rest, Cool, Compress, Elevate) protocol for the affected muscle/joint immediately after the muscle strain. This serves as the most effective treatment plan initially. However, if the pain doesn’t go away after a few days, it is important that you see a physiotherapist. As discussed above, the physical therapist can assess your muscle strain and can develop a treatment plan tailored to your lifestyle. With years of experience in treating pain, you can come to your first physiotherapy appointment knowing that the cause of your pain will be identified and treated appropriately.
How Can Physiotherapy Help in Preventing Muscle Strains?
Physiotherapy cannot just help in treating and managing muscle strains but also in preventing them. Physiotherapists use the following methods to help prevent muscle strains:
- They take you through and teach you proper warm-up and cool-down exercises.
- They teach you how to maintain the full range of motion of joints.
- They show you exercises that help with muscle strain and fatigue.
- They guide and show you ways to avoid muscle imbalance.
- They take you through exercises that can help prevent re-damage.
Physiotherapy At Home | First Response Healthcare
If you are looking for physiotherapy services at home, whether it’s for muscle strain treatment, muscle sprain, or any other musculoskeletal issue, First Response Healthcare (FRH) is one call away.
FRH is a leading home healthcare company providing a range of medical services including home physiotherapy services at home in Dubai. FRH is his JCI-accredited company and is known for the quality services provided by licensed and experienced physical therapists.
FRH offers a wide range of physiotherapy treatments for neurological, muscular, or musculoskeletal disorders, including sports injuries, and orthopedic, neurological, and cardiorespiratory disorders. Once you book an appointment with FRH, the physiotherapist can come to your home, hotel, or office to provide physical therapy. Their services are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays.
FRH’s team of physiotherapists prioritizes the patient’s needs and comfort. He/she will assess and understand your condition and will then create a customized plan that works best for you.
FRH’s Physiotherapy Plan Can Include:
- Strength Training
- Balance Training
- Soft tissue mobilization and Exercises
- Muscle Imbalance Correction
- Posture Correction
- Neuro-developmental Therapy
For physiotherapy services in Dubai for muscle strain treatment, muscle sprain or any other issues, you can call on 0505050387 or 800DIALDOC. You can also book an appointment through our website https://firstresponsehealthcare.com/ae/dubai