What is a Muscle Strain?

Before jumping in to what a muscle strain is, it’s important to cover a few basics on muscles. The human body contains three kinds of muscle fibers – cardiac (heart muscle), smooth (involuntary muscles such as the ones in the stomach lining), and voluntary skeletal muscles. The last category – skeletal muscles – makes up the majority of the muscles in your body. It is these muscles that cause motion, and it is these muscles that athletes and others strain or pull.

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Skeletal muscles are connected to bones via tendons. These muscles are made of bundles of fibers that are designed to contract. When the fibers contract, the muscle shortens, pulling on the attached bone and rotating the bone about the joint.

[frame_left alt=”Muscle Strain” title=”Muscle Strain”]http://www.pulled-muscle.com/images/pulled-calf-muscle.jpg[/frame_left]Often times, during this contraction, the muscle fibers encounter resistance. This can be because the muscle is being used to lift something (like a weight in the case of a bicep curl). Resistance can also come from the ground, which is what creates the ability to run, jump, cut to switch directions, etc.

The problem arises when the resistance is strong or sudden enough to be too much for the muscle fibers to handle. In such a case, in the attempt to contract against this resistance, the muscle fibers tear. If enough of the fibers tear, you end up with a muscle strain or pulled muscle and its associated muscle pain. Medical aid is usually necessary when healing torn muscle injuries.

How to Heal a Torn Muscle

[frame_right alt=”Torn Muscle” title=”Torn Muscle”]http://www.pulled-muscle.com/images/muscle-strain.jpg[/frame_right]There are various ways that a strained muscle injury can occur and you should be careful when playing sports or participating in high intensity activities to avoid these strains. To safeguard yourself from a possible muscle strain, you should be sure to be property trained and conditioned for the activity you are participating in. By doing this you will not only be more strong, but also more flexible and resilient to a muscle strain. Your ability to adapt to the exercise will increase. Remember to always stretch your muscles, especially in the knee, before and after any activity to reduce the stress placed on your muscles.For more information and health advice, be sure to check out our treatment for torn muscle page on how to heal a torn muscle.