What is a Muscle Strain?

A muscle strain is damage to a muscle or its attaching tendons. Also known as a “pulled muscle,” a muscle strain can result from strenuous activity. In the case of a severe muscle strain, the muscle can tear and small blood vessels can be damaged, causing localized bleeding and pain.

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Causes and Risk Factors

  • Muscle strain can occur during the course of normal activities when undue stress is placed on the lower back.
  • Frequent causes of muscle strain include lifting a heavy object, lifting while twisting, or a sudden movement or fall.
  • Sports injuries are also a frequent cause of muscle strain.
  • Risk factors include poor physical conditioning, fatigue, and improper warm-up before exercising.


Symptoms of muscle strain range from a mild ache to debilitating pain and can include:

  • Swelling, bruising or redness
  • Pain at rest
  • Pain when the specific muscle or the joint in relation to that muscle is used
  • Weakness of the muscles or tendons
  • Inability to use the muscle


  • During a physical exam, your pain specialist can check for swelling and points of tenderness in the affected area.
  • X-rays can be taken to rule out a fracture or other bone injury as the source of the problem.
  • MRIs can also be used to diagnose the injury.

Treatment Options

At PMIR Medical Center, we understand that pain is a complex condition that affects the whole person—body, mind and spirit. We provide a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to treatment, customizing the most effective treatment plans for our patients and empowering them to become a collaborative partner in their recovery process.

Muscle strains generally heal over time, in as little as a few days to a few weeks. Application of ice immediately following a muscle strain can reduce your pain and swelling. Avoiding activities that can cause additional pain or swelling is also important.

We offer treatment options for muscle strain that include:

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