A strain is a fairly common injury to the muscles that occurs mainly during sports. It manifests itself mainly by pulling, cramp-like pain. You want to get rid of this pain as soon as possible. That’s why some people wonder if you can treat a muscle strain with a massage or even a massage gun. I also asked myself this question and would like to answer it for you in the following article.
Massage is not recommended for a pulled muscle. Accordingly, a massage gun should also not be used on a pulled muscle. Massaging a pulled muscle can cause muscle calcification or bleeding in the muscle.
Instead, the injury should be sat out. A muscle strain normally heals on its own. The healing process can be supported by loosening exercises and heat.
Immediately after the injury, the affected muscle should be cooled.1 This relieves the pain.
You have now learned in short form that a pulled muscle should not be treated with a massage gun. Now I would like to go into the background of this statement. I will explain what a strain is, how it manifests itself and what causes a muscle strain. In addition, I will explain to you how to proceed correctly with a muscle strain.
What is a Muscle Strain?
Muscle strain, colloquially known as strain, is the mildest form of overuse of skeletal muscles. Often the strain occurs during sports. However, a muscle can also be pulled by unnatural movements and heavy loads in everyday life. The thigh, calf, or back muscles are often affected.
If the muscle is subjected to further strain during a muscle strain, muscle fibers can tear. This is the case, for example, if sports are continued after a strain. With heavier loads, entire muscle bundles can then even travel, or the entire muscle can be completely severed.2
What are the Symptoms of a Muscle Strain?
The symptoms of a strain are often the following:
- A pulling, cramping pain is felt in the muscle that starts weakly and becomes successively stronger.
- The sporting activity cannot be continued.
- If you try to tense or stretch the muscle, this is associated with pain.
- The affected muscle also feels tense. This tension cannot be relieved by massages or loosening exercises.
A muscle fiber tear or rupture of the muscle fibers is accompanied by similar symptoms. Therefore, confusion can quickly occur here. In addition to the symptoms of a strain, the following things occur here:
- Hematomas or a bruise develop due to the torn muscle fibers.
- The muscle hardens.
- The pain feels even stronger and is reminiscent of a knife stab.
What are the Causes of a Pulled Muscle?
A muscle strain occurs because the muscle has been overstretched. This happens with unnatural movements of the muscles, with a sudden strong load, or with a permanent overload of the muscle.
Often a strain occurs accordingly in sports with abrupt movements. Examples are soccer or other ball sports with sprint movements.
Untrained muscles are particularly susceptible to strain. But even if the body is battered, for example, due to an illness, the risk of muscle strain is increased.
In addition, the following factors favor a muscle strain:
- missing or insufficient warming up of the musculature before the sport
- high load of an already tired musculature
- unsuitable training to the current training level
- wearing the wrong footwear
- wrong food in the form of one-sided as well as unhealthy nutrition
- ignoring cramps as a warning sign before a strain and continuing to train
Can I treat a Muscle Strain with a Massage Gun?
Massages are not recommended for pulled muscles. Accordingly, you should also refrain from using a massage gun on a pulled muscle. Massage puts a strain on the injured muscle and can prolong the healing time. In the worst case, massage can even cause bleeding in the muscle or lead to muscle calcification.
How is a Pulled Muscle treated instead?
So you shouldn’t rely on a massage gun for a muscle strain. Instead, it is important to know the so-called RICE rule for a pulled muscle:
- R- Relax: In the event of a strain, immediately stop sporting activity and immobilize the muscle. Continued stress brings the risk of a worse injury.
- I – Ice: Use ice to cool the affected muscle. To avoid frostbite, place a cloth between the ice and the skin.
- C – Compression: Applying an elastic compression bandage can help relieve swelling. In addition, such a bandage gives stability. However, be careful not to apply the bandage too tightly so as not to cut off the blood supply.
- E – Elevation: By elevating the injured body part, the blood supply is reduced. This, in turn, will reduce swelling and relieve pain in the muscle.
The RICE rule is applied immediately after the injury occurs.3 In addition, at a later stage, heat can help with healing. Loosening exercise can also contribute to the recovery.
Conclusion – Does a Massage Gun help on Muscle Strain?
A pulled muscle can be very unpleasant. Accordingly, you often want to do everything to ensure that the injury heals as quickly as possible. However, a massage gun should not be used in this case. In the worst case, it can further aggravate the affected muscle. What you should do instead in case of a muscle strain, I have explained to you in the article. I hope that I could help you with it!