Even minor muscle pulls can be a sore subject for many recreational athletes. The good news is that many times these types of injuries can be avoided.
"The more warmed up the muscle is, usually by light exercise beforehand, the less likely it is to tear," said Dr. Jane Corboy, a family physician specializing in sports medicien at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
The more common, minor pulls are the result of stretched muscle fibers, microscopic tears, or inflammation of the area where the muscle and tendon attach. They are usually associated with an explosive contraction of the muscle or an attempt at an explosive contraction that is blocked by an object, like kicking a soccer ball.
If you do pull a muscle, Corboy offers a few suggestions to get you on the road to recovery:
-- Begin RICE - rest, ice, compression, and elevation - immediately after the injury.
-- Limit the use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to the first 24 hours. The inflammatory response is actually part of the healing process
-- Work on regaining range of motion with light exercise and stretches.
If you didn't feel pain immediately, you could be suffering from delayed onset muscle soreness. Although physicians aren't sure what causes it, the symptoms usually crop up about two days after you perform the activity.