The snap, crackle or pop that you experience when you tear or pull a muscle can be unnerving. I know because it happened to me. I was doing single arm curls in the gym, with a weight that wasn’t too heavy, and I heard the pop, snap and crackle. I knew what to do right away but here’s what I did and recommend you do when you tear or pull a muscle.
What to do when you tear or pull a muscle
While injuring yourself this way can be devastating, you first need to get your mind frame on recovery and not on “oh I’m hurt”. That doesn’t do anything good for you. Relax and follow these steps and your muscle tear or pull won’t be as bad as it could of been. You just have to understand patience.
- Ice immediately. The “duh” moment of this blog post. Just get some freaking ice on the area but don’t hold it there for more then 20 minutes or so. I never understand why someone will hold ice on the area for 45 minutes then they won’t ice again all day. Do a few 20 minute intervals during the course of the day. I prefer to do 20 minutes every hour but it doesn’t have to be that way, just ice multiple times.
- Use a Nucleotides product. These building blocks from nucleic acid (DNA anyone?) provide cells with genetic information and influence new cell production and oxygen transport. Both critical for reversing the inflammation process that happens when you tear or pull a muscle.
- Start supplementing with systemic enzymes. Now comes part two of our reconstruction and systemic enzymes have a profound impact on reducing the pro inflammation signals that comes with tears or pulls. Don’t ignore how powerful this chemical messengers are. Systemic enzymes should be your first line of defense when dealing with muscular tears or pulls.
- Stretch the antagonist muscle. While the popular wisdom says to do nothing to the effected area, you actually want to stretch the opposing muscle group during the first 24 hours of a muscle tear or pull. This allows the torn or pulled muscle to expand to a relatively normal length. During trauma your muscle will literally ball up, it’s how it stays safe but that also impeeds recovery.
- Go low carb. I suggest various supplements throughout this article but the most powerful change comes from our diet. Follow a strict low carbohydrate diet for the first 72 hours post muscle tear until you get a better handle on what’s actually going on. Was it a small tear? Just a pull? You’ll know that within three days by reducing your carbohydrate intake to less then 100 grams per day. Carbs increase inflammation. Replace starches with vegetables and fruit immediately.
- Up your omega 3 fish oil. Omega 3 fats have been proven to both reduce inflammation and increase tissue turn over and recovery in muscle tears. I always recommend between 6-9 grams per day but when you tear or pull a muscle you can up your amount to 12 grams per day
- Do some low intensity range of motion movements on the effected muscle. In my situation, I had pain as I rotated my palm up but also when I rotated my palm down to extreme ranges.What I did, and I suggest something similar for your issues, is to move through an active and passive range of motion. If you can move the affected muscle area without a lot of pain you’ll bring repairing blood to the tissue. Don’t just sit there and do nothing with the injured area. Get it moving.
- Drink more green tea. I don’t like to recommend a specific amount because green tea, unlike other supplements, really does work better when you take more in. I personally drink two cups per day and take this green tea pill to get another 3-4 cups in . Green tea shows fantastic benefits for helping to suppress inflammatory signaling in the body.
- Consider taking a collagen supplement. While collagen fails as a protein it works GREAT for helping ligament and tendon structure integrity since collagen in of itself is required for proper ligament and tendon growth. Make sure you use a collagen that is combined versions 1 and 3.
What to do when you tear or pull a muscle: After
Any combination of the nine above recommendations will really help you when you tear or pull a muscle but what you do after you’re injured has a huge impact on any reoccurrence of injury.
Soft tissue injuries cause scar tissue growth at the area of injury, it is how the body protects itself in the short term. There can be injuries that happen for no reason, it’s possible but more then often, you’ll be hurt due to the resting position of a joint above or below the injury.
Getting to a manual practitioner like a myofasical massage therapist or a Active Release Technique (A.R.T) practitioner can help to restore joint function while reducing the scar tissue build up at the site of the injury. Combine that with some light stretching and slowly working your way back into a proper exercise plan and you’ll be just like new in no time.
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