What actually happens when you “pull” a muscle?

As you wake up in the morning, you stretch your arms and get off your bed to start with your daily routine. Thanks to our muscles, we can move and do the things we needed and wanted to do.

If you hear the word muscles, what probably comes first in your head is the image of a bodybuilder, wrestlers, boxers, and swimmers. But not only sports enthusiasts need a healthy muscle or need to take care of muscles. We all have to.

Muscles are tissues of the body which primarily functions as a power source. The muscles of the body perform a variety of vital functions. It facilitates movement, transporting food to the digestive tract, and working to allow the heart to pump blood. Indeed, muscles make us alive.

There are approximately 650 named skeletal muscles in the human body, which make up 40% of a person’s weight. Smooth muscle or involuntary muscles, typically occurs on a cellular level, which means a human can have billions of smooth muscle cells.

Sometimes, abnormal movements of the body can pull the muscles and causes body pains.

What can go wrong with muscles?

There is a wide range of muscle problems, and the common ones are the following:

Muscle Strain

Have you ever felt pain in your lower back, or at the back of your thighs?  Sometimes, muscles or tendons weaken, and worst unable to move at all. These are some of the symptoms of muscle strain.

It is also known as a muscle pull or muscle tear.  It is the damage to a muscle or its attaching tendons caused by undue pressure on muscles during normal daily activities like sudden heavy lifting while performing work tasks or during sports.

Muscle damage can teared muscle fibers and the tendons attached to the muscle. Torn muscles can also damage small blood vessels, causing local bleeding, or bruising, and pain caused by irritation of the nerve endings in the area.

Muscle Cramps

A sudden and involuntary twitch of one or more muscles causes a muscle cramp. The severe pain that might awaken you in the night or stopped in your tracks by a sudden charley horse. It is harmless, but you cannot temporarily use the affected area. It mostly develops in the legs, particularly in the calf. A hard lump of muscle tissue can be felt or seen beneath your skin.

The causes of muscle cramps include extended periods of exercise or physical labor, particularly in hot weather.  In some cases, medications and certain medical conditions cause muscle cramps, but You can usually treat muscle cramps at home with self-care measures.


It is a disease in which the muscle fibers malfunction, resulting in muscular weakness. There are two types of myopathy: hereditary and acquired.

The hereditary type includes muscular dystrophies, congenital myopathies, metabolic myopathies, mitochondrial myopathies, as well as myotonias and channelopathies. Conversely, inflammatory, endocrine, and toxic myopathies belong to the acquired group.

Abdominal Muscle Strain

If you have severe coughing or sneezing, your muscles strained from overuse, like from doing lots of sit-ups or crunches. The abdominal pull is a stretch or tear of a muscle in your belly.

Treatments for a muscle pulled

Almost all parts of your body with muscles can experience a muscle pull or strain if you improperly use and abuse them. There are ways to treat them with DIY methods at the comfort of your home, or immediately see an expert for severe cases.

Ice packs. Minor swelling or bleeding into the muscle can be best managed early with the application of ice packs on a stretch position of the affected area.

When the swelling has lessened, heat can be applied because the early application may increase swelling and pain.  Also, do not directly apply heat or ice to your skin; use a protective covering instead.

Remember the word PRICE.

  • P for Protection. Protect the pulled muscles from further injury.
  • R for Rest. Rest the pulled muscle.
  • I for Ice the pulled muscle area.
  • C for Compress. With elastic bondage, compress the affected area but do not wrap tightly.
  • E for Elevate. Elevation minimizes the swelling of the strained muscles.

Taking nonsteroidal or anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen or ibuprofen can lessen the pain and allows you to move. However, it would always be safe to consult with a doctor for proper and safe medications.

Smiling and laughing is the only muscle pull that does not cause pain and relaxes the mind and the body instead.