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Muscle Sprains and strains

Strained or pulled muscles often happen when we over exert untrained muscle, train without warming up properly or push a joint beyond its natural position. Pain can occur straightaway or come on later.

Remember RICE ( Relative rest, ice, compression and elevation)

Relative rest.

The first thing to do after over-exerting ourselves is to stop doing the offending activity. It’s normal to feel sore for a day or two after exercise but if it’s worse than that then it doesn’t help to carry on exercising.

However, movement helps to stimulate the healing process so stay as mobile as you comfortably can by moving the joint through its range of movements without forcing it. This helps to increase the blood circulation and prevent stiffness whilst it’s healing. Walking is helpful for back pain and you should increase your activity as the pain subsides.


Cooling the area, can help to reduce pain and swelling. Use a cold pack wrapped in a thin cloth for 10-15 minutes, several times a day, in the first 72 hours can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.


Gently applying a compression bandage can temporarily help to support the injured joint and reduce swelling but remove it if there are signs of reduced circulation such as numbness or pins and needles or skin turning white or blue.


If the injury is in the lower limb elevating it may help to reduce swelling by draining fluids which have built up.

Seek medical attention

If the pain isn’t controlled with painkillers, you can’t weight bear, you experience paralysis or loss of sensation or the swelling is very bad as you may need to seek help from A & E or dial 111 for advice.

If the pain or swelling doesn’t improve in a week a visit to an osteopath may help. They can assess the injury, advise on correct treatment and provide manual therapy which may help it get better faster.