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What to do for pulled muscles? (Read 1393 times)
xxkid123
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What to do for pulled muscles?
Feb 15th, 2012 at 10:42pm
 
So I've got a problem with pulling muscles. I used to swim a lot and would pull my calf muscle at least once every few days, if not more. Since it's usually in a pool my leg doesn't need to support anything and I can tread with only my hands for a minute or two- enough to get to the side of the pool. Unfortunately, yesterday I pulled both my calves while running. First off, I never pull muscles when running. In fact, yesterday I was only on my first lap when it happened, even though I stretched well and ran a few warm up laps. Weird. Also, when I do feel strain on my muscles while running, it is always on my thighs, never my calves. I've never had sore calves during running. I'm thinking this time around it's because I didn't have running shoes on me.

Anyways, being that I'm on land I really had no idea what to do. I need that leg to keep standing, but usually my leg get's locked into pain so I can't do much. Are there any tricks to dealing with it? So far I find my best trick is to keep walking slowly to keep the muscle loose, rather than stiffening up when sitting down. Butt kicks, or any leg motion behind me seems fine, whereas any forward motion with the leg is excruciating.

Also, is my muscle really pulled? When I hear someone mention a pulled muscle they mention mild discomfort, but when I pull one it's excruciating pain that immobilizes my leg. It takes me 30 seconds just for my mind to clear up so I can start forcing my self to relax. I've broken my arm before, and it felt nothing compared to pulling a muscle. When I feel my calf it's very very firm if not dead stiff, as if I was working out (not in a million years Grin). Sometimes it feels like there's a knot or large bump as well. So to reclarify, is this a pulled muscle or something else?

At the least it's very annoying and it's a pain in the ass (and leg). Any help other than the normal relax the leg, walk it off. Usually I'm good within 24 hours. Today my calves are a little sore but I can still run, so nothing permanent like a ripped muscle or ligament.
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Re: What to do for pulled muscles?
Reply #1 - Feb 15th, 2012 at 11:07pm
 
Stretch more. The only way to really prevent pulling muscles is to become more flexible, and you do that be stretching farther and farther every time you warm up. Promote healing by icing the pulled muscle until it stops hurting and don't exercise for the rest of the day. Stretch until it hurts, (but no further!) occasionally as you heal to maintain your current level of flexibility. Some people take NSAID's, but I feel that the risk of accidental injury outweighs the pain relief and anti-inflammatory benefits.

By definition what we call a "pulled muscle" is a partially torn muscle or tendon, and a sprain is the same injury to a ligament. Pulled muscles are no less serious than a sprain even though they hurt less because you have a higher chance of making the injury worse (and becoming a "torn muscle") because it hurts less. Your problem sounds like it's something else, like a cramp. Do your muscles twitch when the pain starts or shortly after it goes away, and how long does the pain last?
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Re: What to do for pulled muscles?
Reply #2 - Feb 15th, 2012 at 11:08pm
 
Stretch, stretch, stretch, ect. Men especially have a tendency to have tight calve muscles. Until you develop flexibility you may have to stretch up to 15min. before you run and swim.  I stretch every time I run for about 10min. Then again, after about 10 minutes I can touch my forehead to my knees. If you stretch before and after you run eventually you should have no problem.
About stretching: don't bounce when you stretch also, stretch long enough and then slowly progress. Remember to breath. I stretch before slinging too. Stretching helps you muscles function better and rebuild faster.
That is all.
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xxkid123
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Re: What to do for pulled muscles?
Reply #3 - Feb 15th, 2012 at 11:13pm
 
touching my forehead to my knees? Never tried that before, guess I'll have to do that now Smiley

Usually I stop after I can put my palms flat on the ground when doing a toe touch; and when I can bend my wrist over the tip of my shoe doing a sit'n'reach sort of stretch. The latest pull was still weird though, It was probably the most I've ever stretched to run, on one of the easiest runs I was ever on. Weird. Whatever.  Grin
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Re: What to do for pulled muscles?
Reply #4 - Feb 15th, 2012 at 11:16pm
 
Sounds like you're getting cramps instead of pulls.  The only excruciating pull I've ever had was a hamstring, and it wasn't until the next morning.  I have some pulled muscles in my lower back and I can still do nearly every part of my normal work out without pain.  Try to drink more water before, and perhaps have a bannana or something before the workout, or in the morning.
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xxkid123
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Re: What to do for pulled muscles?
Reply #5 - Feb 15th, 2012 at 11:22pm
 
me2 wrote on Feb 15th, 2012 at 11:16pm:
Sounds like you're getting cramps instead of pulls.  The only excruciating pull I've ever had was a hamstring, and it wasn't until the next morning.  I have some pulled muscles in my lower back and I can still do nearly every part of my normal work out without pain.  Try to drink more water before, and perhaps have a bannana or something before the workout, or in the morning.


I just googled that and I decided it was a lot more like what my symptoms were. It is usually a sudden pain that just erupts. Yesterday while walking off my first 'pain', my second calf suddenly had that too.

Another I just remembered is that before the cramp sometimes I feel like my muscle is extremely tight like something is pulling on it. Also, sometimes before a main 'pain' I'll sometimes feel like my calf is rippling in my leg or something. It's a weird feeling, but not painful or anything.
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Re: What to do for pulled muscles?
Reply #6 - Feb 15th, 2012 at 11:27pm
 
Based on that, I think you're getting Charlie Horses. Muscle cramps in the calves commonly caused by: low potassium (eat bananas or drink coconut water), low salt (eat salted peanuts or drink coconut water), hypoxia (practice circular breathing), dehydration (drink more water or drink coconut water), too strenuous stretching before exercise, and just because. Coconut water will help eliminate a few potential causes. So will drinking Gatorade/Powerade before exercising, but all the sugar isn't too good for you.
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Pikåru wrote on Nov 19th, 2013 at 6:59pm:
Massi - WTF? It's called a sling. You use it to throw rocks farther and faster than you could otherwise. That's all. 
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Re: What to do for pulled muscles?
Reply #7 - Feb 15th, 2012 at 11:52pm
 
Sounds like cramps, try drinking some orange juice or if you can hold it down, a small amount of vinegar in a glass of water.
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Re: What to do for pulled muscles?
Reply #8 - Feb 16th, 2012 at 8:00am
 
yes it's cramp NOT a pulled muscle.
Gently massaging the effected muscle will help as it helps get oxygenated blood to the spasming muscle tissue.

do what mas says.
also drinking tonic water helps. The quinine helps stop cramp. And when you get older you can add the gin  Wink

Cramp is caused by a buildup of lactic acid in the muscle tissue due to anerobic respiration and insufficient electrolytes.
Always get your metabolism running before any serious exercise. Your body starts taking in more oxygen, hear rate increases and the muscles prepare for serious usage.
Stretching is good exercise. But also throw in some basic aerobics to get your heart and respiration rate going as well.  
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Re: What to do for pulled muscles?
Reply #9 - Feb 16th, 2012 at 10:18am
 
Do what Mas says.  The best thing for a pulled or strained muscle is to not get it in the first place.  When you're a kid stretching isn't all that essential.  You will find, and this is etched in stone, that the older you get the more you have to stretch before you do something athletic.  Not that you're old now, but you are growing up and reaching an age where stretching is getting more important.  Stretch first or regret it.
   The best thing I've found for strained muscles is  rest and soaking in a hot tub.  Icing down the affected muscle can be very helpful also.  If it's really bad take a muscle relaxer.  If the pain is severe or persists for a long time see your doctor.  If it's a serious injury, ignoring it could make it much worse. 
   If it's cramps eat more bananas.  Bananas are high in potassium and are excellent for relieving cramps.  I've had bananas actually prescribed to me by a doctor before.  Plus they're delicious.  Stretching can also help prevent cramps.
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Re: What to do for pulled muscles?
Reply #10 - Feb 16th, 2012 at 10:24am
 
Cramps can also be caused by a lack of potassium.  Well known to us bicyclists...  An endurance athlete for that matter.   Prevention is usually a matter of proper hydration, making sure your electrolytes are adequate, etc.
You don't have to swig gallons of Gatorade, but good solid nutrition will help.  Bananas...

Regarding stretching...     I listened to an exercise physiologist on NPR's Science Friday last Summer.  She's with one of the major universities doing research in the area.   Said that despite years of study, they'd been unable to find that "stretching" did much of anything other than feel good after a workout.
No injury prevention, no increase in range of motion... None of the usual claimed benefits.

For years, (at least, when I was young) folks would dutifully "stretch out" prior to whatever sort of workout they were going to do.   Then, with a little more knowledge, the standard became to warm up first, to work to the point of perspiration, and THEN to stretch the now-warm muscle...
And now it appears that even that may not be necessary, and in some cases (if done improperly) even harmful.
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Re: What to do for pulled muscles?
Reply #11 - Feb 16th, 2012 at 11:59am
 
Bikewer wrote on Feb 16th, 2012 at 10:24am:
Cramps can also be caused by a lack of potassium. ...

I keep Potassium Salt in my pantry and every week I take 1/8 teaspoon in a bit of juice; seems to keep me topped up on potassium not many problems with cramps.

P.S. stay hydrated.
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Re: What to do for pulled muscles?
Reply #12 - Feb 16th, 2012 at 12:41pm
 
Take it from an old man.

Try using RICE
Rest
Immobilization
Cold (application of a cold pack)
Elevation

It will take time to heal. Give it that time. If it's torn, you don't want to stretch it. Let your body do it's think and don't push it. When you're ready to run, ease back into it.
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Re: What to do for pulled muscles?
Reply #13 - Feb 16th, 2012 at 4:40pm
 
Bikewer wrote on Feb 16th, 2012 at 10:24am:
Cramps can also be caused by a lack of potassium.  Well known to us bicyclists...  An endurance athlete for that matter.   Prevention is usually a matter of proper hydration, making sure your electrolytes are adequate, etc.
You don't have to swig gallons of Gatorade, but good solid nutrition will help.  Bananas...

Regarding stretching...     I listened to an exercise physiologist on NPR's Science Friday last Summer.  She's with one of the major universities doing research in the area.   Said that despite years of study, they'd been unable to find that "stretching" did much of anything other than feel good after a workout.
No injury prevention, no increase in range of motion... None of the usual claimed benefits.

For years, (at least, when I was young) folks would dutifully "stretch out" prior to whatever sort of workout they were going to do.   Then, with a little more knowledge, the standard became to warm up first, to work to the point of perspiration, and THEN to stretch the now-warm muscle...
And now it appears that even that may not be necessary, and in some cases (if done improperly) even harmful.

A lifetime of practical application tells me otherwise.  Not just me but everyone I know.  I strongly disagree with your exercise physiologist.  I do agree that stretching improperly can do damage.  One should stretch gradually and stop immediately if there's pain.  I'm going bowling now.  If I didn't stretch beforehand I'd be lucky to get through the evening without straining or pulling something
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Re: What to do for pulled muscles?
Reply #14 - Feb 16th, 2012 at 10:16pm
 
Yout gym/swim teacher should be able to help you with the stretching if you ask them. You have to use different stretches for each activity as you use your muscles differently in them.
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