Muscle Strain/Tears OR Torn/Pulled Muscle: Causes & Symptoms Muscle Strain/Tears OR Torn/Pulled Muscle: Causes & Symptoms Skip to main content

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Muscle Strain/Tears OR Torn/Pulled Muscle: Causes & Symptoms

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Muscle Strain: Causes, Symptoms and grades of Muscle Tear or Pulled Muscle or Torn Muscle
Illustration of Muscle Strain causing exercise

Muscle Strain Definition: What Is Muscle Strain/ Muscle Tears/ Torn Muscle/ Pulled Muscle

Muscle Strain Meaning

Muscle strain or pulled muscle is an internal injury of tendon and/or muscle, in which a contraction, tear or over-stretch in muscle fibers causes pain, ribs, quads, bruise, discoloration or stiffness at localized area.

Reasons: Why Muscle Strains Happen?

Sometimes in our day to day life or while workout, we stretch our muscles beyond their limits. And sometimes, we unknowingly contract them too strongly. It causes tears in muscle fibers and makes that part unable to move or function properly. In both of the above cases, the level of severeness depends on the following two parameters: 
  • How much stretched or contracted the muscles are? That is, the degree.
  • How many muscle fibers are torn or stretched or affected? That is, the severity. 
These two decide that the case is mild, moderate, or serious. Depending on the functionality of the body part and level of damage, this muscle tear or muscle strain is classified in three grades (degrees).

Muscles Tear or Muscles Strain: Normal Body Mechanism Vs Problematic

Muscle Tear During Normal Body Activities

Muscle tears are a part of our body mechanism too. But this tear is very tiny, which can be called a normal breakdown.

Muscle Strain Risk Factors

The tiny tears occur while or during performing the
  • Rigorous exercise
  • Heavy workout
  • Strength-training schedule
The probability of getting a pulled muscle or torn muscle increases while rigorous workout or sports activity. All the athletic sports involve some risk though, yet contact sports carry the higher risk of muscle tear. Such sports include football, tennis, and basketball. The reason behind is the requirement of taking a quick start, which most often tends to give a risk of strain.

However, one needs to remember that stepping off a curb can also give you such a strain. Even you can get it while lifting a weighty cartoon or heavy box too. Muscle strain from running is also common.

Problematic Muscle Strain: Muscle Strain Degrees (Grade 1, Grade 2, or Grade 3)

Muscle Strain cause: heavy weight lifting
Muscle Strain because of carrying heavy weight!

Muscle strain/tears or torn/pulled muscle are some terms that are a part of the life of a sportsman or a heavy exercise performer. Sports injury incorporates sprains, strains and ligament injuries too. They indicate the damage in muscle or tendon. The severeness of such a problem is evaluated in degrees. So, what the parameters of these degrees say? Let's get aware of three degrees of strain and know about muscle strain causes, symptoms, risk factors, and grades in depth.

Muscle Strain Grade 1: First Degree Muscle Tear

As the degree suggests, it is not a severe issue. This type of strain indicates minor tear in muscle. When a few muscle fibers gets affected with tear or stretch, this mild strain doesn't prove problematic. It gives pain or tenderness in injured muscles, but the pain remains at low strength.

Mild Muscle Strain Causes

  • To perform rigorous physical activity or workout without warming up before
  • To over-exert and fatigue
  • Non-flexible body
  • Poor condition

Mild Muscle Strain Symptoms:

  • Muscle Strain Pain: Tenderness and pain in the muscle after performing an activity that involves stretching or violent contraction of the muscles. The sufferer feels pain that increases whenever the affected part is moved.

  • The pain slowdowns gradually if given rest to the injured muscles' part.
  • Muscle Strain Pop: The injured part doesn't show any swelling or bruise.
  • The sufferer can move the part or movement doesn't stop completely and by the time gets normal.

Muscle Strain Grade 2: Second Degree Muscle Strain

Such a strain indicates the muscle tear of moderate level. It causes pain to the sufferer, which is not unbearable though, yet enough to grab attention. Its annoyance limits the moving ability. In this case, as the number of injured muscle fibers increases, they give comparatively serious pain.

Acute or Moderate Muscle Strain Causes

  • To slip or perform an activity with lose foot
  • To jump, throw something or run fast carelessly
  • To lift up some heavy stuff
  • To lift or pull with an awkward body posture

Moderate Muscle Strain Symptoms:

The body part gets mild swelling due to strain.
Muscle spasm or cramp.
At the time of muscle injury, the localized area of affected muscle shows a pop.
The strength loss is noticeable in this type of muscle strain.
Sometimes, the affected body part shows light bruise or swelling or both too. 

Muscle Strain Grade 3: Third Degree Muscle Strain

Now this is a serious call. Third degree strain indicates the most problematic muscle tear. This state comes when the muscle fiber ruptures and become the reason of intense pain. Such the muscle gets all-the-way-through tear because of stretch or strain. The initial pain completely restricts the moving ability. Sometimes, it causes the pop sensation.

What Happens Inside and Outside in Muscle Strain Problem?

Inside: Our muscles remain connected to the bones through tendon, a strong cord. Too much muscle-stretch or muscle-contraction shears away the muscle from tendon and thus from bone. Or sometimes, it rips the muscle into two pieces and separates them. The muscle loses its normal outline because of a sharp break. Sometimes, this muscle tear damages the tiny blood vessels too, which becomes the cause of local bleeding and irritation at the nerve endings. Such internal injury of tendon causing pain, ribs, quads appears out as bruise or swell.

Outside: A strain-affected body part may show swell, redness, bruise, and cause weakness. It may give pain in muscle while moving the part or using the nearby joint. One can also get open cuts from such injury. 

Chronic Muscle Strain Causes

Factors or activities that can cause Severe Muscle Strain are:
  • To perform a risky movement repetitively
  • To play sports like tennis golf, rowing, baseball or such other game with excessively tired body or in too much flow
  • To don a poor posture as habit in day-to-day life
  • To hold your neck or back wrongly in an awkward posture for a long period of time
  • Severe Muscle Strain Symptoms:
  • The place under the skin where rips happen, the torn parts of muscles come apart and give gap or dent. 
  • The outline of muscle changes from normal to defective. 
  • It evidently decreases the strength of that muscle. Sometimes, the sufferer loses the functionality of that muscle, completely. 

Types of Muscle Strain: Classification of Muscle Strain as per Body Parts

Check below:
  • Muscle Strain in Chest
  • Muscle Strain in Back
  • Muscle Strain in Neck
  • Calf Muscle Strain
  • Shoulder Muscle Strain

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