How to Relieve a Pulled Muscle

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A pulled muscle, also known as a torn muscle or muscle strain, occurs when muscle fibers are torn. Pulled muscles can occur all throughout the body, in virtually any muscle. Thankfully, pulled muscles recover fairly easily. They do need care to ensure a prompt and complete recovery. With a little diligence, you can effectively relieve a pulled muscle and expedite the healing process.

Things You'll Need

  • Ice pack
  • Ice
  • Towel
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Wrap
  • Heating pad

Rest. Try to avoid using the pulled muscle as much as possible. Do not participate in sports, exercise or vigorous activity until the pulled muscle has healed. If you don't rest it, you could cause further injury to the muscle.

Ice the pulled muscle. Apply an ice pack, or wrap ice in a towel and hold it on the affected muscle. This will help to reduce swelling and pain. Apply the ice for 15-minute intervals at a time.

Take anti-inflammatory medication. Medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen will alleviate swelling and soothe pain. Avoid taking aspirin, as it encourages bleeding, which can worsen your pulled muscle.

Wrap the muscle. Use an elastic bandage to wrap the pulled muscle. This will add support, helping to prevent further tearing. Make sure the bandage is not too tight. You want to keep blood circulating to the muscle freely.

Massage the area. Massage aids in circulation, helping vital blood and nutrients to reach the injured muscle. Use light to moderate pressure to gently rub the muscle.

Use heat. After the first 24 hours, you can begin to use heat to relieve your pulled muscle. Soak in a hot bathtub or apply a heating pad to the area. The heat will help to loosen the muscle and aid the healing process. Apply the heat in 15-minute intervals.

Tips & Warnings

  • After the first 24 hours, you can begin to gently stretch the muscle.
  • See a doctor if your pulled muscle doesn't improve within three to five days.

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