Muscles are made up of tough, strong fibers that support movement and mobility. Frequent and excessive use of muscles, however, can be hazardous. The repeated pressure and strain can overstretch your muscles, leading to a muscle overuse injury. Such injuries are common in the muscles behind your legs as well as in with the back muscles. Treatment for overused muscle injuries not only includes extra care to relieve immediate discomfort, but also involves modifications to your lifestyle to prevent future injuries. If you suffer from a serious muscle overuse injury, the best option is to look into physical therapy like modalities and manual therapy.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU HAVE A MUSCLE OVERUSE INJURY?
The first thing to do if you have an injury resulting from muscle overuse is to remove bodyweight from the affected area and rest the injured muscle. Additional strain can damage the overused muscle further. If the injury is in your leg, try elevating it to see if it relieves pressure. This will help reduce swelling and may make you more comfortable. Use pillows as a cushion to elevate the leg. Pillows and support cushions are also great for relieving discomfort from back injuries.
For pain relief, consider taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. These medications help take down swelling and inflammation after a muscle overuse injury, the biproduct of which is a reduction in pain.
Some people also choose to use ice pack or ice bag to reduce swelling from the injured area. Ice packs are fine, but always remember to wrap them in a protective cloth to safeguard your skin. Leave an ice pack on for about 10-15 minutes, remove it for about 10 minutes, and then start again. Periodically applying ice to the affected muscle for one to three days after an injury should take down minor swelling.
Diet may also play a role in how quickly overused muscles recover after an injury. Some studies suggest that increasing your consumption of lean protein could help. Sources of lean animal protein can be derived from chicken and turkey (white meat). Unsalted nuts or nut butters are also nutritious and can provide healthy sources of both protein and fat. It may be a good idea to consult with a nutritionist or expert to discuss how diet can affect muscle recovery.
HOW TO PREVENT MUSCLE OVERUSE INJURIES
Repeating the same exercises can lead to muscle overuse injuries. Prevent future overuse injuries by switching up your daily routine and engaging different muscles on a regular basis. Remember to stretch and take breaks when you perform in high intensity exercises as well, as this may be helpful for long term success.
CONSULT A PHYSICAL THERAPIST
If a muscle injury is giving you discomfort or pain, the best thing to do is to consult with an experienced physical therapist. Physical therapists will be able to evaluate your injury and prescribe the necessary treatment or course of action to help you heal.
If you are looking for a physical therapist to help you with your muscle overuse injury, Excel Physical Therapy is the team to turn to. Contact us today for more information about our physical therapy services!