A muscle strain, or pulled muscle, is a painful injury that is caused when the ligament tissue that connects two or more bones gets injured. While a muscle strain is generally not serious, it can be problematic when it hampers daily activity.
This type of injury can occur due to a variety of causes, including exercise, accidental injury, lack of blood flow, dehydration and lack of minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium.
Muscle strain can cause swelling, soreness, stiffness and intense pain. Often, the person cannot use the affected muscle for a few days. It can happen to anyone irrespective of age and gender.
If you have a strained or pulled muscle, you can easily treat the problem at home with simple and inexpensive home remedies.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for a muscle strain.
The quickest and easiest way to heal a pulled muscle is to apply an ice pack on the affected area immediately. The cold will constrict the blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the affected area. This in turn helps reduce inflammation and swelling as well as pain.
- Wrap a handful of ice cubes in a thin towel.
- Apply the ice pack to the torn or strained muscle.
- Do this for about 15 minutes.
- Repeat the process every two hours for the first 24 to 72 hours, depending upon your recovery rate.
Note: If you have vascular disease or diabetes, consult your doctor before applying ice.
2. Elastic Bandage
You can speed up the healing process of a pulled muscle with the help of an elastic bandage. The bandage will help reduce the amount of stress placed on the muscle, which in turn will alleviate swelling and pain.
- Buy an elastic bandage from the market.
- Gently wrap the bandage around the affected area. Do not wrap it too tightly or it may interfere with circulation. Loosen the wrap if the pain increases or there is swelling on either side of the wrapped area.
- Keep the area wrapped for at least 72 hours or until the swelling and soreness is gone completely.
This remedy is more effective when combined with ice therapy. Also, try to keep the affected area in an elevated position to reduce blood flow to the area.
3. Warm Compress
Applying a warm compress (after the first 24 hours) is another effective way to get relief from a pulled muscle. A warm compress helps relax the muscle, which decreases muscle spasms and stiffness in the ligaments and tendons. This in turn leads to reduced swelling and inflammation.
- Soak a towel in hot water. Squeeze out the excess water.
- Put the warm, moist towel over the affected area for 10 minutes at a time.
- Repeat the process several times a day for two to three days.
A warm shower or bath will also help a lot to relax the pulled muscle.
Note: Avoid using a heating pad as dry heat can aggravate the pain.
4. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt can effectively ease muscular aches and pains. Epsom salts are made up of magnesium sulfate. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant that helps pull excess fluid out of the tissues, reducing swelling and pain.
- Add two cups of Epsom salt to warm bath water.
- Soak the affected part of your body in the water for half an hour.
- Dry the area with a towel and wrap it with an elastic bandage.
- Do this once daily for a few days until the strained muscle is healed completely.
Note: Epson salt remedies are not recommended for those suffering from heart problems, high blood pressure or diabetes.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can also be used for treating sore muscles and leg cramps. The anti-inflammatory and alkalizing properties of apple cider vinegar help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Add two cups of apple cider vinegar to a bathtub of hot water. Soak the affected area in the water for half an hour. Do this once daily for a few days until you recover completely.
- Alternatively, drink a glass of warm water mixed with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and some honey once daily for a week.
6. Black Strap Molasses
Black strap molasses is a good source of potassium and calcium. Both of these nutrients are needed for maintaining strong bones, joints and muscles. It is also a good source of iron that is needed for energy and metabolism.
- Mix one-fourth cup of black strap molasses with one-half cup each of apple cider vinegar and honey. Add one and one-half teaspoons of ginger paste.
- Add sufficient water to the mixture to make about half a gallon of this drink and then refrigerate it.
- Drink it twice daily for a week to treat muscle strain.