By Deb Russell
A muscle pull is probably the most common martial arts injury next to getting a bruise. Inevitably during the course of your training, although you have stretched properly, you may still pull a muscle from overuse, fatigue, or injury.
What exactly happens when you pull a muscle? A muscle pull occurs when a sudden, severe force is applied to the muscle and the fibers are stretched beyond their capacity. If most of the fibers are over-stretched and just a few are torn, you have a muscle pull. If many of the fibers are torn, then it becomes a muscle tear.
The treatment for a muscle pull or tear is to apply ice. This relaxes the muscle and helps relieve any spasm. Apply ice to the injured body part and rest it until the pain and swelling reduce. You should apply the ice for about 20 minutes at a time for several days to reduce inflammation. Then you can start stretching the body part gently.
It is very important to stretch the muscle while it heals. A pulled muscle usually goes into spasm, which is its protective mechanism causing the stretched muscle fibers to contract. If these fibers are not gradually re-lengthened, the muscle will pull again upon use because it will have healed in a shortened state.
If you stretch the healing muscle gently and gradually, you'll decrease your chances of re-injury. You can return to full training when you are able to stretch the injured body part without pain as far as you can stretch the healthy one on the other side of the body.
This Martial Arts muscle soreness article is continued in the following sections:
Muscle soreness is common, especially when you begin a new type of exercise that your muscles are not accustomed to.
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