It has been a busy ten days for me, plus, I pulled the biceps muscle on my right arm while weight lifting some days ago. I guess I overworked them. Luckily, I had my Aloe Heat lotion and ice to the rescue. This also inspired me to write a short article on relieving muscle strains. A muscle strain, also called a pulled muscle, occurs when a muscle is stretched too far, and small tears occur within the muscle. Depending on the severity of the strain, you could heal yourself at home. 

Muscle strain symptoms include: pain to the specific muscle when in use, swelling, bruising or redness, or open cuts due to injury, weakness of the muscle or tendons or inability to use the muscle. You should seek medical attention if home remedies do not relieve the pain. You should also seek medical attention immediately if you become paralysed from the pain, where there is excessive swelling to the affected area, or bleeding. 

Next time you strain a muscle whether from exercising or while carrying out your regular daily activities, you could try any, some, or all of the following.
  • Rest the strained muscle. You should resist doing activities that would stress to the affected muscle. Stop any exercise that would further strain the muscle (I speak to myself too). Not resting the muscle could cause more damage. 
  • Apply some ice to the affected muscle for about twenty minutes. This will help reduce swelling and pain. Ice applications can be done frequently, but should not be done for more than 15-20 minutes at a time.
  • Elevate the injured area to decrease swelling. For example prop up a strained leg muscle while sitting.
  • You may take drugs like panadol, ibuprofen, or Tylenol. 
  • Heat applications can be used, but not immediately after the injury occurs. A heating pad or hot, wet towel would do. Heat helps to disperse any blood that has collected around the affected muscle.
  • Gently stretch the muscle. Gently stretching the muscle daily can help relieve the pain. 
  • Warming up before exercise will help loosen the muscle and prevent injuries. Jumping into a sport with stiff muscles can lead to a higher chance of straining the muscle.
I use Aloe Heat Lotion by Forever Living to gently massage the muscle. After that, I wrap some ice in a towel and place on the muscle for about 15 minutes. This method, together with light stretching and resting the muscle, has been very effective for me.

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