Will a pulled back muscle heal itself?
Most ligament and muscle injuries recover on their own within six weeks. The key to healing is to keep active while adhering to specific guidelines. Most people who strive to get back to their everyday life as quickly as feasible discover that their soreness disappears with time.
Treating a Pulled Back Muscle in 8 Steps
No matter where a pulled muscle is in the body, the steps to muscle heal are generally the same. However, it’s essential to talk to a medical professional before treating an injury because symptoms of other injuries, such as disc problems or a broken bone, may resemble strains and sprains. After talking to a professional, try the following steps.
1. Apply cold. For muscle healing, Cold helps reduce inflammation, which is the primary source of pain in the first few days. The faster you can apply cold to a pulled back muscle, the quicker you may reduce pain, help control swelling, and start the healing process. Apply a cold pack for 15-20 minutes after the injury occurs. Take a break of at least 20 minutes between each cold application.
2. Use compression. Applying compression bandages or an active compression system may help reduce swelling and edema so the damaged tissues can repair themselves more quickly which is important for muscle healing.
3. Rest. After a muscle strain, it is vital to limit your activity level and avoid movements that increase pain. After the initial pain subsides, returning to the previous activity level may help prevent the muscles from growing weak.
4. Stretch. Gentle stretching exercises may improve tissue healing by blood flow to the injured area. Applying heat to the site before stretching may also be beneficial.
5. Pain medication. Pain medications do not assist with the healing process and should only be used, in the short term, to provide relief with normal activities of daily living. If you feel that you need pain medication, consult with your physician to determine the appropriate type and dosage for your specific situation. Use medication sparingly because pain is an essential indicator throughout the recovery process.
6. Perform strength exercises. As the pain subsides, try adding strengthening exercises in addition to stretching. Allowing the muscles to weaken with too much rest may slow recovery and increase future injuries.
7. Get a massage. You can further increase blood flow to the injured tissues with a light massage.
8. Apply heat. After the first few days, alternating cold therapy with heat application may help reduce pain and increase circulation. Try a 20-20-20 rule: 20 minutes of an ice pack followed by a 20-minute break, then 20 minutes of heat. Repeat as necessary, allowing 20 minutes between hot or cold therapy.
For strains in lower back muscles, treatment might include light, low-impact exercise to help maintain range of motion and build muscle strength. Walking, cycling and swimming are good options for staying active while recovering from lower back muscle strains.
Here are some additional tips for muscle heal:
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet that is rich in protein and other nutrients can help to speed up muscle healing. Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue.
- Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated is important for overall health and recovery. It is especially important for muscle healing.
- Manage stress. Stress can slow down the healing process. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as yoga, meditation, or spending time in nature.