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Physical Therapy for Pulled Muscles

Pulled muscles can give you considerable pain and may limit your sports performance. If you have severe muscle injury, you may need to completely avoid participating in sports and certain home or work activities. A pulled muscle injury is also called muscle strain.

A pulled muscle occurs when any of your muscles is overstretched or pulled causing irritation or tearing of muscle fibers.

Physical therapy for pulled muscles

During your first visit to your physical therapist for your pulled muscle, your therapist will likely ask about your symptoms; your activity at the time of your injury; and related medical history. Your PT will then conduct a thorough physical examination and evaluation of your injured muscle including other associated structures, such as your joints.

After your initial evaluation, your physical therapist will create a comprehensive treatment plan made specifically for you based on your symptoms, severity of your injury, result of your evaluation and examination, and your goals.

Your physical therapy rehabilitation program will be a combination of
  • Physical agents (e.g. ice or heat)
  • Electrotherapeutic modalities like ultrasound and TENS
  • Exercises (e.g. range of motion exercises, stretching exercises)
  • Activity or work modification

Physical Therapy Treatment Options for Pulled Muscles

There is no one effective treatment for pulled muscles. In most cases, the type of physical therapy treatment that you will receive will be a combination of several treatments, which may include
  • Recommend modified rest
  • Cold therapy or cryotherapy
  • Heat therapy
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Soft tissue mobilization / massage
  • Joint mobilization
  • Manual stretching
  • Gradual range of motion (ROM) exercises
  • General conditioning exercises
  • Flexibility / Stretching exercises
  • Progressive strengthening exercises
  • Patient education
    • About pulled muscles
    • Precautions to observe
    • Activity or work activity modification
    • Self-care of symptoms
    • Pulled muscle injury prevention
  • Iontophoresis / Phonophoresis
  • Suggest use of walking aid if necessary
  • Walking aid training / gait training
  • Training on proper weight lifting
  • Postural training

Not all of the physical therapy treatments enumerated above will be provided to you. Only your personal physical therapist will be able to help you decide on the appropriate treatments are best for your specific condition and needs.

Your physical therapist may decide to provide your with home treatments and exercise program to help hasten your healing. Always follow your therapist's instructions carefully.

Your physical therapist will be discussing with you about the specific treatments that you will be receiving. Don’t hesitate to ask about your treatments. Your therapist will gladly answer your questions.

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