Muscle Strains

A strain occurs when a muscle or the tendon that attaches it to the bone is overstretched or torn. Muscle strains are also called pulled muscles.

Muscles are bunches of fibers that can contract. Muscle strains usually occur during activities that require the muscle to tighten forcefully.The causes of strains are:

  • A sudden over stretching of the muscle
  • An extreme contraction of the muscle against heavy resistance

Contributing Factors

  • Inadequate warm-up before activity
  • Limited flexibility
  • Repetitive overuse or over stressing the muscle
  • A history of previous strains to the muscle


  • Swelling, bruising or redness, or open cuts as a consequence of the injury
  • Pain at rest
  • Pain when the specific muscle or the joint in relation to that muscle is used
  • Weakness of the muscle or tendons
  • Inability to use the muscle at all

How can Massage Therapy help?

Massage can help to reduce the swelling at the site of injury. Returning range of motion and insuring that fibers realign properly are important during the sub-acute phases. It is also important to encourage the formation of a functional scar if the skin was broken or surgery was performed. After the injury has healed we will teach you exercises to help to reduce the risk of re-injury.

Grades of Strains

Grade 1 Strain

This is a minor stretch and tear to the muscle. There is minimal loss of strength. This person can continue with the activity with mild discomfort. Requires 2 to 3 weeks rest.

Grade 2 Strain

Tearing of the muscle occurs. There may be a snapping sensation or sound at the time of injury. A gap may appear at the injury site. The person has difficulty continuing with the activity due to pain and muscle weakness. The rest period required is usually between 3 and 6 weeks.

Grade 3 Strain

This is a complete rupture of the muscle or an avulsion fracture (a piece of bone breaks off with tendon) There is a snapping sensation or sound at the time of rupture. A visible gap is present at injury site. Often the muscle shortens or bunches up.This person cannot continue activity due to significant pain and weakness. The rehabilitation time is around 3 months.