In the period following a muscle strain, there are a few mistakes people commonly make. At very least this can lead to a delay in healing times, but more worrying than that is that it can actually make the injury worse. Here are a few of the most common mistakes our Osteopaths regularly see here at Sports & Spinal Albury:
1, Applying H.A.R.M.
By now, most of us are aware of the recommended treatment in the early stages of an acute injury is no longer R.I.C.E., but instead P.E.A.C.E. & L.O.V.E. If you aren’t aware, find our blog about it here. The acronym H.A.R.M is less well known and is used to remember the things you shouldn’t do after an injury. This stands for applying heat, drinking alcohol, running or massage. All of these activities can increase swelling, pain and increase the damage of the injury in the first 48-72 hours.
After a muscle strain, the damaged fibres slowly begin to heal and reattach to each other. This process can be quite fragile and during the early stages, aggressive stretching of recovering tissue can impair healing or even lead to more straining. While gentle stretching a few days after the injury can have a positive effect, you should check with your Osteopath to ensure you’re not stretching too far and causing further damage.
3, Failing to see an Osteopath (or other suitable qualified allied health professional)
The diagnosis of a muscle strain might seem straightforward, however, there might be more going on than you realise. Many conditions can mimic a muscle strain, or you may have suffered a strain due to an underlying weakness or pathology. Having an Osteopath confirm your muscle strain or identify another condition is vital to ensuring you recover fully.
Your Osteopath is also able to identify any factors that could lead to further injury and is able to help restore your tissue to its previous level.
4, Returning to sport too early
One of the most confusing things about muscle strains is that often they become less painful while the tissues are still not completely healed. Many people suffer another strain simply because they return to sport too early. While you may feel as though your tissues are back to full strength, the muscle fibres can still be healing and vulnerable to a strain. It is important to test your injury gradually, starting with gentle exercise and building up to high-intensity activities.
Your Osteopath is able to guide you with a full rehabilitation program. The aim of treatment is always to help restore strength, flexibility and control to your damaged muscle, keeping you injury free for the future.
If you need help recovering from a muscle strain, you can make an appointment by either calling the clinic on 02 6021 1975 or booking online here.
– Dr Vaughan Saunders
B Sc (Clin Sc) M Htlh Sc (Osteo)