Diagnosing Severity of Muscle Pull

Muscle pulls are usually classified as Grade 1, 2, 3 or chronic,based on the following signs.

Grade 1

You have overstretched the muscle fibers, resulting in some minor tears. This can result in:

  • tightness in the area of the strained muscle
  • mild to moderate discomfort when performing movements that stretch the strained muscle fibers
  • minor swelling or inflammation

Grade 2

You have partially torn some muscle fibers, resulting in the following symptoms.

  • twinges of pain during activity, especially against resistance
  • visible swelling and pressure, with the possibility of bruising
  • weakness in the affected muscle

Grade 3

You have fully torn or ruptured some muscle fibers. You may experience:

  • significantly diminished motor function, making motions that use the affected muscles difficult or not possible
  • severe pain when contracting the muscles, and a high level of background pain
  • visible and immediate swelling, with the possibility of bruising
Chronic Injury

In addition to the three grades of injury, there is also the category of chronic. A chronic injury is one that is persistent and recurring and is identified by the following symptoms:

  • You experience stiffness and soreness for over one month
  • Your bruising and swelling is gone, but your flexibility is limited and it’s hard to work your muscles at 100 percent.

If you have previously had a strain and did not allow the muscles to heal completely before returning to your normal activities and exercise, your chance of developing a chronic strain are greatly increased. Often, in these instances, because of improper recovery the muscle develops scar tissue that inhibits normal muscle function.

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