Is It Better to Rest or Exercise a Pulled Muscle?

You probably know that stretching and staying physically active are two important components to reaching optimal health, but if you’ve recently pulled or strained a muscle, you’ll probably want to hold off on getting back on the horse, so to speak.

Our AFC Urgent Care Knoxville team highlights the importance of resting after you’ve pulled a muscle, so keep reading!

How Can I Know If I’ve Pulled a Muscle?

Most health experts agree that the No. 1 sign that you’ve pulled a muscle is when you experience a sharp pain right after an activity where you’ve done a sudden movement that feels “wrong.” However, muscle pulls can manifest themselves differently case by case.

If you’ve experienced the previously mentioned tell-tale sign or any of the symptoms below, it’s highly like that you’ve pulled a muscle.

Pulled Muscle Symptoms

  • Sudden onset of pain
  • Soreness
  • Limited range of movement
  • Bruising or discoloration
  • Swelling
  • A “knotted-up” feeling
  • Muscle spasms
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness

Should I Rest or Stretch My Pulled Muscle?

The most important thing you can do for a pulled muscle is resting it. Even if it’s light stretching, continuing to stress a pulled muscle could result in further damage to muscle and a much longer healing time.

If you’re chomping at the bit to stretch your pulled muscle, just make sure to rest it for at least two to three days after the injury occurred. Once the acute pain has decreased, you can begin with gentle stretching before working on strengthening.

Ways to Prevent Pulling a Muscle

  • If you’ve been injured before, allow proper time to heal from the specific injury.
  • Stretch your muscles daily.
  • Cross-train for sports by weightlifting or choosing another activity to strengthen your muscles.
  • Warm up before exercise or intense activity.
  • Eat foods high in potassium, like bananas and avocados, before exercise to prevent muscle fatigue.
  • Properly hydrate during exercise.

If you have any further questions about your recently pulled muscle, don’t hesitate to ask! Call or visit us at AFC Urgent Care Knoxville today.