How do you treat a muscle strain?
Rest the strained muscle and apply ice for the first few days after the injury. Anti-inflammatory medicines or acetaminophen (Tylenol) also help reduce pain and swelling. As the pain decreases, you can use heat on the muscle. Stretching and light exercises to bring blood to the injured area can also be useful. In general, stretching and warm compresses are helpful before exercises. Cooling down and icing the area after exercise can help.
Get medical help right away if:
- You have a lot of swelling with the muscle strain.
- You can't move your arms, legs, or joints.
- You have swelling that is getting worse as time passes.
Treatment - muscle strain
Biundo JJ. Bursitis, tendinitis, and other periarticular disorders and sports medicine. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 263.
Wang D, Eliasberg CD, Rodeo SA. Physiology and pathophysiology of musculoskeletal tissues. In: Miller MD, Thompson SR. eds. DeLee, Drez, and Miller's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 1.
Review Date 5/13/2019
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.