Did you pull or strain a muscle? Here’s what to do next

  • Rest. Rest the muscle for a few days or until your doctor gives you the okay. If you had a minor muscle strain, you should be able to do some gentle movement after two days.
  • Ice. Apply ice to the injury for 20 minutes each hour you’re awake. Ice can help reduce inflammation. Never apply ice directly to bare skin; instead, wrap the ice pack in a towel first.
  • Compression. Wrapping the muscle with an elastic bandage can help bring down swelling. Avoid wrapping it too tightly or your muscle won’t get enough blood circulation.
  • Elevation. Elevate the injured muscle to reduce swelling.
  • Medication. Your physician may recommend a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, like ibuprofen, to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Heat. Use a heating pad a few times a day after three days. Never apply heat directly to bare skin; always wrap the heating pad in a towel.

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