The Three Levels of Muscle Strain Based on Their Severity

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At one time or another, we’ve all experienced muscle aches and pains. This is a normal part of the workout recovery process for active types. However, muscle pain caused by properly performed exercise and muscle pain due to an accident or other type of injury is different. Although pain from workouts is normal, the pain shouldn’t be extreme.

For those who feel that their muscle pain is alerting them to some type of physical damage, consulting with strain muscle treatment specialists is key for proper diagnosis. If left untreated, muscle strains can lead to further damage and reduced recovery time.

What is a Muscle Strain?

A muscle strain is known by a few different names. Whether you call it a pulled or torn muscle, it doesn’t matter; it still falls under the umbrella of a strained muscle. Strains shouldn’t be confused with sprains, which are injuries to ligaments.

Muscle is constructed of bundles of small muscle fibers held in place by connective tissues known as fascia. A tear to any of the structures of a muscle is a muscle strain. Muscle strain recovery times can vary from a few days to a few months and depend upon the severity of the injury, its location, and how the injury occurred.

Common types of muscle strains include:

  • Back muscle strain – Common to both sports injuries and accidents, back muscle strain, and pain are defined as any torn muscles in the lower back.
  • Hamstring strain – Sometimes referred to as a pulled hamstring, this type of sprain is a tear to any of the muscles in the back of the thighs.
  • Plantar fascia strain – This type of strain is a tear in the muscles of the foot’s arch.
  • Thigh strain – This is a tear to the quadriceps muscle group in the front part of the thighs.
  • Calf strain – A tear to the gastrocnemius muscles in the lower back part of the leg is referred to as a calf strain.

The Three Levels of Muscle Strain

Muscle strains are categorized by grade depending on their level of severity. While a grade 1 strain is considered to be mild, the most severe muscle strain injury is a grade 3.

  • Grade 1 muscle strains have the fewest amount of torn muscle fibers. The pain is localized with little or no loss of strength or movement. Mild pain could be delayed for a day after the injury occurs. There’s usually minimal swelling, if any at all.
  • Grade 2 has numerous muscle fibers torn, and the pain is generally immediate and prohibits movement. The injured area will experience tenderness, swelling, and a loss of strength.
  • Grade 3 muscle strains are the most severe and result from a complete muscle rupture. The pain is felt immediately and is accompanied by a complete loss of strength and limited movement. The torn muscle and surrounding area will experience severe swelling.

Common Symptoms of Muscle Strains

Symptoms of muscle strains will vary depending on the grade and location of the injury. While a Grade 1 muscle strain may not be immediately apparent, the symptoms of more severe tears are much more recognizable. Common symptoms of muscle strains include:

  • Muscle tenderness or pain, even while resting
  • Bruising or swelling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Limited range of motion

Can Chiropractic Care Help to Heal Muscle Strains?

A chiropractor can help assist the healing process of a muscle strain while reducing the pain they cause. After evaluating your injury and the issues it is causing, they’ll determine the best treatment plan for your situation.

Common treatment plans for muscle strains include:

  • Stretching and strengthening therapy – Your chiropractor will teach you to perform strength-building exercises and stretches to help increase flexibility. These can help to avoid re-injury.
  • Massage therapy – It can ease pain and improve blood flow to torn muscles, encouraging faster recovery.
  • Chiropractic adjustments – Chiropractic adjustments can help to regain mobility. Proper alignments of the joints can decrease pain, improve blood flow, and assist in recovery.
  • E-STIM therapy – Electrical muscle stimulation therapy stimulates the muscles and promotes faster tissue repair. Electrical energy is used to help relax muscles, supports relaxation, and can help to relieve pain.

The Three Levels of Muscle Strain Explained

Muscle strains are categorized by severity. A grade 1 muscle strain has the least amount of torn muscle fibers, while grade 3 is a complete tear of the entire muscle. Depending on the location and severity of the injury, the symptoms could range from mild to severe pain and a loss of mobility.

Consulting with a licensed chiropractor can help to reduce pain and swelling while encouraging a quicker recovery. While ice and rest may be all that’s required for a mild grade 1 muscle strain, more severe injuries will require chiropractic care.