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First Aid for Muscle Strain

Last updated March 3, 2018

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD MPH

Muscle Strains are common conditions that are caused by over-stretching or tearing of the muscle fibers.


What is Muscle Strain?

  • Muscle Strains are common conditions that are caused by over-stretching or tearing of the muscle fibers
  • This injury generally involves the arm, leg, or back muscles, and usually results in an immediate sensation of pain

What are the Causes of Muscle Strain?

The causal factors for Muscle Strains could include:

  • Participation in any rough or high-impact sporting activity
  • Muscle imbalance, muscular fatigue, and weakness
  • Automobile accidents
  • Slipping on smooth or wet floor surfaces
  • Exposure to freezing weather, which decreases flexibility of the muscle fibers
  • Overexertion of the muscles beyond its capability, such as with gymnastics and certain stretching exercises

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Muscle Strain?

The signs and symptoms of a Muscle Strain may include:

  • Severe pain
  • Tenderness and swelling within the muscle
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Inflammation around the muscle
  • Noticeable bruising, redness around the area
  • Decreased range of motion of the affected limb
  • Bleeding, bruising, or contusion, depending on the type of trauma

How is First Aid administered for Muscle Strain?

First Aid tips for Muscle Strain include:

  • Arrest or control any bleeding using a clean cloth and by applying direct pressure (if necessary)
  • Use an icepack (for 15-20 minutes) on the injured site to reduce pain and swelling
  • Repeat the application for a few hours giving a time interval of 10-15 minutes
  • Apply an icepack regularly for a period of 3-4 days, until the pain subsides
  • Take an over-the-counter painkiller, if the pain is severe
  • Take sufficient rest and avoid using the injured muscle for a few days
  • If a limb is involved, take rest by keeping the affected limb in a slightly elevated position

Who should administer First Aid for Muscle Strain?

The injured individual or any bystander can administer first aid. However, if the pain is severe or the condition is severe, the affected individual must seek medical assistance for a definitive management of Muscle Strain.

What is the Prognosis of Muscle Strain?

The prognosis of Muscle Strain is usually good, if appropriate medical treatment is provided. In most cases, the affected individual can regain use of the injured muscle within a few days, through simple conservative treatment measures.

How can Muscle Strain be Prevented?

A few helpful tips to prevent Muscle Strains:

  • Use appropriate safety equipment, especially while participating in sports. Also, learn the correct sports techniques
  • Avoid over-exertion while playing or exercising
  • Wear seat-belt while driving
  • Fall-proof the home; address slippery smooth surfaces that pose risk for falls
  • Close supervise small children during their outdoor activities, playtime

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Apply an icepack regularly following the injury to relieve the pain
  • Avoid using the injured muscle until the symptoms subside completely

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?


References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Aug. 26, 2017
Last updated: March 3, 2018