How to Treat Muscle Strain & Find Relief at Home

man with muscle strain in leg

Staying active takes its toll on the body. Even those who take care of themselves with regular self-care activities sometimes overdo it and end up with muscle strains. Muscle strain should be treated immediately as symptoms arise. Failure to treat symptoms can lead to more serious injuries or lasting damage.

What is Muscle Strain?

Muscle strain, also known as a pulled muscle, happens when the muscle is torn or overstretched beyond it’s natural limit. It can be the culmination of normal wear and tear without recovery time, fatigue, overuse, or working the muscle improperly.

Strains can happen to any muscle in the body but are most commonly associated with the neck, shoulders, hamstrings, and back. One of the most common examples is lower back muscle strain caused by lifting heavy objects improperly or lacking proper posture. Athletes also frequently experience muscle strains from overexertion during play. 

Symptoms of Muscle Strain

Most of the time you’ll feel the symptoms of muscle strain as soon as it happens. Some exceptions may be muscles pulled during a large boost of adrenaline or an intense workout. The symptoms of muscle strain include:

  • Soreness
  • Sudden muscle pain
  • Limited range of motion or mobility
  • Spasms
  • Swelling

Knowing how to treat muscle strain the right way is crucial to recovery. Most cases can find muscle strain relief at home but more severe injuries may require professional medical attention. Let’s examine how to treat muscle strain and find relief at home:

What’s Better: Heat or Cold for Muscle Strain Relief?

One of the first questions that comes to people's minds for treating a pulled muscle is whether to use heat or cold for muscle strain relief. Which method is the right one? The answer could be both depending on the injury and symptoms.

The Mayo Clinic recommends treating minor muscle strains with the RICE method. RICE stands for:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Applying a cold press or ice pack for muscle strain relief reduces inflammation and acts as a pain reliever. Cold treatments should be applied within 48 hours for maximum effectiveness. Apply cold treatments only if there isn’t a high risk of cramping, an open wound, or the person is at a higher risk for vascular disease disrupting blood flow.

Never apply cold treatments like ice packs directly to the skin. Using a protective covering such as a towel, press the ice pack to the affected area for 20 minutes each hour you’re awake during the first day of muscle strain symptoms. For subsequent days, apply ice every 4 hours. If you don’t have an ice pack, frozen vegetable bags work well, especially peas. These easily shape around the area treating the entire area effectively.

Beyond the RICE method, heat treatment for muscle strain relief improves circulation and helps the affected muscles relax. Effective treatment methods with heat include heating pads, hot compresses, zero gravity chair heat therapy features, and heat wraps. Never use extreme heat for muscle strain relief as you risk bodily burns that could cause serious injury. Alternating heat and cold for muscle strain relief is an effective tactic for exercise-induced injuries. 

Using a Zero Gravity Chair for Muscle Strain Relief

The zero gravity position makes using your zero gravity chair a top method for how to treat muscle strain. First and foremost being in your chair gets you off your feet so you can relax while treating for muscle strain relief. Comfort is important! In zero gravity position, the legs are elevated above the heart level and weight is evenly distributed along the body. This can reduce the amount of pressure being put on sore muscles, allowing them to heal more efficiently. As an especially high-risk group for muscle strain injuries, zero gravity healing for athletes can speed up the time they’re unable to get back to their sport.

Another health benefit of zero gravity chairs is improved blood circulation. This allows oxygen and nutrients to travel the body more efficiently, speeding up the healing process and providing muscle strain relief. Reduced pressure on the back provides lower back muscle strain relief as the spine decompresses and discs rehydrate. This is also a benefit of using a zero gravity chair to treat sciatica symptoms.

Some zero gravity recliners have extra features such as heat therapy and massage functions. These features work to keep the muscles loose while they heal. Alternating heat therapy with the RICE method above is great for reducing inflammation then relaxing the pulled muscle.

If you’re looking for ways to keep busy while muscle strain has you down, there are plenty of activities to do while relaxing in your zero gravity chair. Just be sure you don’t overdo it and risk further injuring yourself. 

Self-Care Activities for Muscle Strain

Learning how to treat muscle strain and find relief at home means turning to self-care activities. The most obvious things you can do here is to apply heat and cold treatments as needed and to rest as much as possible while your body heals itself. Relaxation cannot be overstated for those seeking muscle strain relief.

Another effective self-care activity for treating pulled muscles is an epsom salt bath. One or two cups of epsom salt in a warm bath helps relieve pain and provide soothing muscle strain relief. It is especially useful for treating symptoms like delayed muscle soreness from overexertion. Run a warm bath, light a candle, and relax.

Of course your mental health shouldn’t be ignored while seeking muscle strain relief either. While reclining in a zero gravity chair and treating the physical side of your injury, consider zero gravity meditation or other relaxation techniques to manage your stress levels and quell your pain. Not one for meditation? There are music and sound options available to take your mind off your injuries and put you at rest. 

Stretching for Muscle Strain Relief

While it’s important to rest and relax while healing from pulled muscles, keeping active to prevent muscle cramping is highly recommended. It is up to you to determine how much you can handle with your injury, so don’t overdo it trying to push too hard too soon.

To help treat lower back muscle strain in a zero gravity chair try some simple core exercises to strengthen the muscles as they heal. Other low-impact exercises for muscle strain relief include tai-chi and yoga. These activities focus on slow, concentrated movements that strengthen your muscles and keep them limber without pushing them too hard. If you struggle with any certain poses, adjust to respect your pain level and limitations.

Learning how to treat muscle strain and find relief at home is important to getting you back on your feet and fully active once more. There are a number of treatments and self-care activities to practice while recovering from pulled muscles. Be sure to always respect your body’s limits while healing to avoid further injury. Combining self-care activities with the right zero gravity chair will help you treat your injuries and heal much faster.

Muscle strain have you stuck in the house? Read how a zero gravity chair benefits your body while staying home.