3 Ways You Can Avoid a Muscle Strain

Rahul Sood, D.O.

Most of us have strained or pulled a muscle at some point in our lives. These types of injuries occur when you overstretch or tear the bundles of tissue that give your skeleton stability and movement. 

Muscle strains can vary in severity, but they share similar symptoms, such as:

  • Sudden, sharp pain 
  • Muscle cramps or spasms
  • Tenderness, soreness, or stiffness
  • Swelling or the feeling of a tight knot in the area
  • Discoloration or bruising
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Weakness or complete loss of function
  • A visible gap or dent in the muscle
  • A popping or tearing sound during the injury

Most strains occur because of muscle overuse, misuse, or fatigue. That means there are several steps you can take to avoid them.

At Metro Pain Centers, our team treats numerous acute and chronic pain conditions, including those involving muscle strains. We offer three tips to avoid these types of injuries.

1. Watch your weight

There are several reasons why it pays to maintain a healthy weight, and that includes avoiding muscle strain. Every extra pound you carry puts added pressure on your muscles, especially in weight-bearing areas of your body, like your legs and back. It also increases your risk of strain injuries because extra weight can impair your physical function, resulting in:

  • Decreased mobility
  • Poor posture
  • Muscle weakness
  • Balance limitations

Our team recommends following a healthy diet and exercise program as part of your weight management plan to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your muscles.

2. Move smarter

You probably know that you should always warm up your muscles before participating in sports or physical activities. But moving smarter goes far beyond exercise alone. Contrary to popular belief, you can even strain a muscle when walking or even coughing.

Some of the most common areas people strain muscles include the lower backshoulder, neck, and hamstring (behind your thigh). But you can avoid many of these injuries by practicing better body awareness, like:

  • Not sitting in the same position for too long
  • Lifting things with your legs 
  • Never lifting and twisting at the same time
  • Maintaining good posture while sitting and standing
  • Stretching gently before and after physical activity, especially in cold weather

It’s also essential to listen to your body. If you’re new to exercise, take your time and don’t push yourself too hard or too fast. Similarly, if something feels off, stop immediately.

3. Reduce your fall risk

Many strains occur because of a fall or sudden twist that forces your muscle out of its normal position. In fact, falls topped the list as the leading cause of preventable nonfatal injuries in 2018.

Fortunately, you can reduce your fall risk by:

  • Wearing stable shoes that fit properly
  • Using handrails 
  • Avoiding slippery surfaces
  • Eliminating clutter from your floor
  • Securing or removing area or throw rugs
  • Using an assistive device for support, like a walker or cane

Our team also suggests incorporating physical therapy or balance exercises into your fitness regimen to help maintain or improve your coordination, strength, and stability as you age.

For more tips on avoiding muscle strains or to receive treatment for an injury, contact one of our offices in New Jersey or New York by calling or requesting an appointment online.

Rahul Sood, D.O.

Rahul Sood, D.O.

About Rahul Sood, D.O.

As a board-certified anesthesiologist and doctor of osteopathy, Rahul Sood, DO, is an integral part of the team at Metro Pain Centers. He is also a specialist in venous medicine with an extensive history and experience in treating lower extremity spider and varicose veins. He practices from the offices in Clifton, Middletown, Riverdale, Edison, and Jersey City, New Jersey; and Staten Island and Ardsley, New York.

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