Have you strained your muscle?

Snow shovel showing Oakville Physio and massage clinic

We see many patients at our Oakville Physiotherapy, Massage and Chiropody clinic with muscle strains. Some people will call a strained muscle a “pulled muscle” or even a “torn muscle”.

After a big snow fall and heavy shovelling like we had yesterday in Halton, there are many people walking around with sore back, hips, shoulders and forearms.

Does that mean they have a muscle strain?

Not necessarily. With a new activity, or a more difficult activity. We can experience DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness. This can be a normal result of challenging your muscles and some repair time. This should not be extreme or create a challenge in the way you move or experience your following days. DOMS can last for a few days but really should be dissipating after 2-3 days. DOMS is usually experienced as a generalized muscle tenderness and stiffness.

DOMS can be treated with gentle stretching, movement, heat, epsom salt baths, and massage. Our Oakville Registered Massage Therapists work with athletes and gym goers on rest days or after training cycles when they are experiencing DOMS or as a recovery and relaxation support.

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In most cases of a muscle strain there will be sharp pain with the strain and afterwards with challenge or use of the muscle. It may occur immediately or progress once inflammation has set in and adrenaline has worn off.

With a strained muscle you may notice swelling and bruising to various levels. This may not be visible right away and may settle in, in the following days. There will be isolated tenderness and pain focally at the site of the tear. Initially it may spread to a wider area as well.

If there is significant pain and signs of bruising and swelling, as well as a significant difficulty in function, it is important to see a health care professional. Our Oakville Physiotherapists are often able to provide light treatment and education to help you transition to the next stages of healing more efficiently. Another sign to access Physiotherapy is if your pain is not improving after a few days, or worsening. It is important to see a medical professional such as a Physio to help diagnose your problem and perhaps point you in the right direction.

In cases like an acute muscle strains, our Oakville Physiotherapists are able to help you at all stages of healing. From the very beginning, teaching you how to tensor and start getting moving, to returning to your sport, activity or work.