An abdominal muscle strain is a minor injury to the abdominal muscles. Athletes in particular are affected. The abdominal muscle strain can heal quickly with suitable measures.
What is an abdominal muscle strain?
According to percomputer.com, an abdominal muscle strain is a strain on the skeletal muscles in the area of the abdomen. The abdominal muscles work together with the back muscles and are made up of straight and oblique muscles.
The straight muscles ensure good posture and allow the upper body to lean forward. The oblique abdominal muscles allow you to turn sideways. The skeletal muscles consist of different building blocks. The smallest unit of these building blocks are the sarcomeres. When subjected to excessive stretch, these muscle fibers can become pulled and tear. This affects the functioning of the muscles.
Abdominal muscle strains often arise during sporting activities. The signs are pain in the muscles. However, this pain is less than with torn muscle fibers and torn muscles. The strain affects only the smallest unit of the muscle. Nevertheless, the muscle should be spared.
The cause of an abdominal muscle strain can be an overuse of the muscles of the abdominal area by incorrect movement or by stretching the muscles too much. The sarcomeres of the muscles cannot withstand excessive stretch and tear.
A previous injury to the muscle that has not healed can also result in an abdominal muscle strain. It is therefore important to protect the muscles so that regeneration can take place.
An abdominal muscle strain can also result from great physical exertion. Immediately afterwards there is pain in the abdominal area. Since the abdominal muscles create a squeeze, it can also cause pain when coughing or when using the toilet.
Sports with varying muscle loads can be another cause of the abdominal muscle strain. One could think of sports such as soccer, tennis or sprinting. These sports not only involve quick movements, but also quick stops. This overworks and tires the muscles.
A congenitally low ability of the muscles to stretch is also an option. Lastly, an imbalance in the muscles in the spine can be the cause of an abdominal muscle strain. Some muscle parts are overloaded because they have to balance the imbalance.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
An abdominal muscle strain often arises from an unusual overload, so that the muscle in question is pulled. A common symptom of such an abdominal muscle strain is a sharp pain that is noticeable even when you are resting. With certain movements, these complaints can increase considerably, as an improvement can only be achieved through sufficient rest and protection.
If the affected person feels a sharp pain in the abdomen when inhaling and exhaling, this is also a very clear sign of an existing abdominal muscle strain. If you continue to strain the abdominal muscles, you may have to reckon with an abdominal muscle tear. Thus, an extensive rest phase is very important and useful if you have an existing abdominal muscle strain.
Under certain circumstances, an abdominal muscle strain can also spread to other parts of the body if an actual muscle tear should occur. Swelling in corresponding regions can be the first signs of an abdominal muscle tear. In such a case, a visit to the doctor should not be put off on the back burner if a prompt and quick healing is to be achieved.
Diagnosis & course
The main indicators for an examination are increasing pain in the abdominal muscle area. In addition to these symptoms, there may be reduced mobility and restricted function of the area.
Other indications are muscle cramps and a hardening of the muscles. Because in this area the tone is increased, the doctor muscle hardness and is tenderness check. Another important point is whether the patient is comfortable with stretching and uncomfortable with tension. An imaging test is ruled out for diagnosis because the abdominal muscle strain does not damage the muscle fibers.
First of all, a sudden pull is felt when the abdominal muscle is pulled. Later on there is severe pain, especially when moving. The pain is caused by an inflammatory reaction and is usually spasmodic. It is characteristic that the symptoms increase slowly. The muscle area can still be used at first, not later. The muscle hardens and cramps more and more.
An abdominal muscle strain usually results in relatively severe pain. This pain is exacerbated because the patient uses these muscles every day and can hardly prevent their use. Because of this, these muscles take longer to rehabilitate. Often there are painful cramps and also tenderness.
Due to the abdominal muscle strain, the person affected also feels a pulling in the stomach, which can spread to the abdomen. In some cases, the abdominal muscle strain causes inflammation of the abdominal muscles, which is treated with medication. In the case of a strain, the patient is severely restricted in his movement and thus in everyday life. This significantly reduces the quality of life.
When treated with medication, the inflammation is fought so that there are no further problems. The symptom itself can be treated with bandages, bandages, and cooling. In most cases, the treatment leads to a positive course of the disease and no further complications arise.
If the abdominal muscles are strained even further after the abdominal muscle strain, it usually leads to unbearable pain and cramps.
When should you go to the doctor?
An abdominal muscle strain does not need to be treated in every case. In many cases, the symptoms will go away on their own if the strain wasn’t severe. However, a doctor should be consulted if the abdominal muscles are sore or stiff.
Even with cramps or swelling in the affected areas, the person affected should see a doctor. It is not uncommon for pressure pain and significant pain to occur when the abdomen is moved slightly. Since the symptoms significantly reduce the quality of life of the person affected, a doctor should be consulted if the symptoms of the abdominal muscle strain do not go away on their own.
In many cases, the patient has various self-help options available to alleviate the discomfort of the abdominal muscle strain. In acute emergencies or after an accident, the hospital should be visited or an emergency doctor should be called directly. A general practitioner can also be consulted for diagnosis. Further therapy then takes place with a sports doctor or through physiotherapy.
Treatment & Therapy
Since the muscle tissue is not damaged in the case of the abdominal muscle strain, the main aim of the treatment is to combat the symptoms. Recovery is important, not muscle renewal. The muscle malfunction associated with the complaints is compensated for. In addition, the muscle is relieved and relaxed. Physiotherapeutic treatment is suitable.
If you suspect an abdominal muscle strain, all activities should be stopped so that the muscle can regenerate. Treatment is initiated with the so-called PECH scheme. This means: P stands for a pause in the body area. There is a pause even after a slight pull. Strong pressing should also be avoided. The E stands for ice and other means with which a cooling of the muscle area can be achieved. The cooling helps reduce pain.
The C stands for “Compression”. Compression, in turn, means applying pressure to the painful area using pressure bandages. The bandage strengthens the muscle and is gentle on it at the same time. However, the pressure bandage should not be pulled too tight so that it does not affect blood vessels and nerves. Cooling sleeves are very suitable because they combine pressure and cooling.
Finally, the H stands for high camps. Because by storing it up, less blood is transported into the injured tissue. This reduces the tone, i.e. the feeling of tension. After treatment according to the PECH scheme, the patient can take a hot shower or go to a sauna.
Outlook & forecast
An abdominal muscle strain occurs when the muscles in the abdomen are stressed too much. Certain postures and movements cause stabbing pain in the abdominal region, so that the person affected is very limited in everyday life. If such a clinical picture remains completely without medical and drug treatment, then the pain will increase considerably.
In particularly bad cases, an existing abdominal muscle strain can develop into an abdominal muscle tear, so that a visit to the doctor can no longer be avoided. Especially if the muscles in this area continue to be heavily strained, the likelihood of a tear in the abdominal muscles increases. Independent healing is no longer possible without medical and drug treatment. If the affected person opts for such a treatment with an existing abdominal muscle strain, then an uncomplicated and timely recovery can be expected.
With appropriate medication and a pronounced rest phase, a quick improvement can be achieved so that the abdominal muscles can be fully loaded again after around 10 days. However, it is not very easy to keep a strict rest phase, as this part of the body is already strained with the simplest movements.
As a preventive measure, do a warm-up exercise before exercising. It is especially important to warm up the muscles in cold weather. In addition, sports exercises should not be carried out in an uncoordinated manner or too quickly. As a preventive measure, you should also drink enough water and pay attention to the electrolyte intake. Finally, a balanced diet is particularly important for athletes in order to avoid abdominal muscle distortion.
A strain of the abdominal muscles is usually a very painful affair, which does not always require medical or medication care. With light to moderate strains of the abdominal muscles, the healing process is completely independent. This means that all follow-up examinations can be dispensed with entirely. However, if the abdominal muscle is severely pulled, a follow-up examination may be recommended.
If medical treatment was carried out beforehand, follow-up examinations should not be dispensed with under any circumstances. Affected people often put pressure on this sensitive region far too early, so that the abdominal muscle strain breaks out again. Exactly this can be prevented by subsequent examinations. An appropriate doctor can give the affected person appropriate medication and tips on the way so that such a strain on the abdominal muscles does not break out again.
If the abdominal muscles are severely pulled, one or, if necessary, several follow-up examinations should take place afterwards. This is the only way to prevent possible complications in the healing process. If the abdominal muscles are slightly strained, this can be completely dispensed with. Even without medical treatment or without subsequent examinations, there is no longer any obstacle to a full recovery. Nevertheless, if the slightest signs of aggravation, an appropriate doctor must be consulted.
You can do that yourself
If an abdominal muscle strain is suspected, all sporting activities should first be stopped. The actual treatment takes place according to the PECH scheme (pausing, ice, “compression”, elevation). Movements that could put additional strain on the abdominal muscles (e.g. pressing hard on the toilet) are ideally paused until the strain has healed.
To relieve the pain, the affected area should be cooled with ice and other cold applications. In addition, the distorted muscle must be tightened with compresses and pressure bandages and its blood flow promoted by elevation.
In addition to these immediate measures, hot showers or a short sauna session can help. In addition, the abdomen can be rubbed regularly with rubbing alcohol, arnica tincture or marigold ointment. A decoction made from sage, hyssop and corn, which is also applied directly to the strain, has also proven itself.
After the acute phase, any pain and restricted mobility can be relieved by physiotherapy and electrotherapy. After a few days, you can finally do more light sport with an abdominal muscle strain. Cycling, swimming or walking promote blood circulation and loosen the affected muscles after a strain. If the symptoms persist despite all measures, you should see a doctor or sports medicine specialist with an abdominal muscle strain.