Rest the strained muscle and apply ice for the first few days after the injury. Anti-inflammatory medicines or acetaminophen (Tylenol) also help reduce pain and swelling. As the pain decreases, you can use heat on the muscle. Stretching and light exercises to bring blood to the injured area can also be useful.
Get medical help right away if:
You have a lot of swelling with the muscle strain.
You can't move your arms, legs, or joints.
Brinker MR, O’Connor DP, Almekinders LC, et al. Physiology of Injury to Musculoskeletal Structures: 1. Muscle and Tendon Injury. In: DeLee JC, Drez D Jr, Miller MD, eds. DeLee and Drez’s Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 1, section A.
Biundo JJ. Bursitis, tendinitis, and other periarticular disorders and sports medicine. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman’s Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 271.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.