Have you recently pulled or torn a muscle? Are you using heat, ice and painkillers to help you manage your symptoms while you rest? People often recover from a muscle tear with rest and basic home treatment. However, this can take four to six weeks to heal (or more if the tear is severe). You can boost your recovery from torn muscles with physical therapy.
A muscle strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon. Also known as muscle tears or pulled muscles, strains commonly occur in the lower back and hamstrings. In fact, studies indicate that the most common back injury for athletes is muscle strain.
You don’t need to be an athlete to tear a muscle. A muscle strain can also happen when you slip, lose your footing or lift something heavy while in an awkward position.
A physical therapist can use a variety of treatment methods to help you recover from a muscle strain. Physical therapy massage is one such method. PT massage is a great way to manage your pain and inflammation, promote healing, and prevent future injury. Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of physical therapy massage for torn muscles.
Muscle strains and tears: What you need to know
A muscle strain is a type of injury that occurs when your muscle or tendon is overstretched or torn. Strains can happen in any muscle, but they’re most common in your lower back, neck, shoulder and hamstring.
Muscle tears can be sorted into three different categories, depending on severity:
- Grade I — A mild strain occurs when only a few of the muscle fibers have been injured. At the time of injury, you may only feel a slight twinge of pain in the injured area. Pain and tenderness are often delayed until the day after injury. There is usually little to no swelling or loss of strength with a mild strain.
- Grade II — In a moderate strain, nearly half of the muscle fibers are torn. You may experience significant pain and swelling at the time of injury. You may also experience a decrease in muscle strength and range of motion.
- Grade III — A severe strain refers to a complete tear in the muscle fibers. If you have a severe muscle strain, you will likely experience severe swelling and pain in the injured area. You may also lose function of the torn muscle, resulting in very limited movement.
Mild to moderate strains can often be treated at home with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications. Severe strains may require surgery to repair the torn muscle or tendon. However, all three types of muscle tears can potentially benefit from physical therapy massage.
Physical therapy massage can help you recover from torn muscles
When most people hear the word “massage,” they likely picture a spa resort. However, physical therapy massage is different from spa massage. Spa massage can help relieve muscle pain and tension. However, this relief is often more general, rather than targeting a specific area of injury. Also, the goal of spa massage is often to relax and de-stress an individual, rather than to heal an injury.
Physical therapy massage (also known as manual therapy) is a physical therapy technique focused on rehabilitating an injured muscle. PT massage can also be used to improve joint strength, mobility and function. Physical therapists accomplish this by using their hands to move and manipulate parts of your body, usually focusing on soft tissue and joints. Physical therapy massage can be used to increase blood flow, release muscle tension and reduce pain in an injured area. Because of this, it can be a great way to support your recovery from a muscle strain or tear.
5 benefits of physical therapy massage for muscle tears
PT massage can be an effective way of treating muscle strains and tears. Here are five ways that PT massage can help boost your recovery from torn muscles:
- Reduce pain and inflammation — Research shows that massage therapy can be an effective option for pain management. Through a combination of pressure application and stretching, a physical therapist can manipulate your injured tissue in order to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Improve circulation — PT massage techniques can also be used to improve blood flow throughout the body and in targeted areas. Increased circulation can boost the healing process and help alleviate muscle soreness.
- Improve flexibility and range of motion — Physical therapy massage can be used to target specific areas of tight tissue that are restricting movement. By stimulating these areas, a physical therapist can help release tension in the tissue and improve your range of motion. Muscle strains can also negatively impact your joint flexibility. PT massage can be used to gently manipulate your joints and increase flexibility and mobility in the injured limb.
- Reduce scar tissue — A physical therapist can also use PT massage techniques to break up bands of scar tissue. This can help reduce stiffness and tightness in the injured area, as well as promote overall healing.
- Prevent future injury — PT massage also has the potential to reduce your risk of future muscle tears. Tight, tense muscles are more likely to tear during physical activity. Massage therapy can help prevent further injury by reducing tension in your muscles and improving muscle flexibility.
Ready to give physical therapy massage a try? Contact REPAIR Sports Institute today
Muscle tears can cause a serious disruption to your daily routine. Luckily, our team of physical therapists can use PT massage techniques to help boost your recovery from torn muscles.
Schedule an initial appointment today so you can take back your life from pain and get back to doing what you love.