Get ready to de-bunk what you’ve been told or what you think you know when it comes to treating muscle strains!
Fiction: You should completely rest to let the muscle heal
Fact: Appropriate loading early on can actually help the healing progress with decreasing inflammation and preventing muscle atrophy.
Fiction: You should ice the strain and take anti-inflammatories to decrease inflammation
Fact: Ice and anti-inflammatories can actually delay the healing process by interrupting the inflammatory process. Instead, perform pain-free cardio activities to get your heart rate up and get the blood pumping.
Fiction: You should stretch the strained muscle to prevent it from getting even tighter.
Fact: Stretching a strained muscle can actually cause more damage to the muscle fibers. Instead, you should work on isometric exercises (a static hold contraction), to eccentric exercises (a slow controlled lengthening movement of the muscle), to concentric exercises (a shortening action of the muscle) as tolerated.
Reframe your thinking from R-I-C-E to P-E-A-C-E & L-O-V-E when treating a muscle strain.
The old acronym RICE stood for
The new acronym PEACE & LOVE stands for
P-Protect (avoid painful activities the first couple days)
E-Elevation (elevate the injured extremity higher than your heart)
A-Avoid anti-inflammatories (avoid OTC anti-inflammatories and ice)
C-Compression (use an elastic bandage or tape to reduce swelling)
E- Education (education on the healing process and let it work itself out)
L-Load (gradually load the extremity, letting pain be your guide)
O-Optimism (your brain plays a large role in healing by being confident and positive)
V-Vascularization (choose pain free cardio to get blood flowing to help with healing)
E-Exercise (focus on mobility, strengthening, and proprioception to return to an active lifestyle)
Dealing with a muscle strain or injury? Reach out today to let us help you get on the path to healing! Working with a physical therapist can help improve the healing process by determining how and when to properly load the affected area, provide you with alternative exercises/activities so you don’t have to stop your active lifestyle, continue to work with you to get you stronger and better than before your injury, and be your biggest cheerleader in your recovery process!