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Abdominal Muscle Strain

Abdominal Muscle Strain

Abdominal muscle strain is also commonly referred to as pulled abdominal muscle which causes a sharp pain in the abdomen. At times, the pain becomes so severe that one cannot make any movements. This article provides some information on the same.
Bidisha Mukherjee
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
The abdominal wall of our body consists of several types of muscles. These abdominal muscles carry out some of the most crucial bodily functions. The main trunk of our body is supported by the abdominal muscles, and it also helps to make its movement possible. It is responsible for controlling the internal pressure inside the abdomen and helps to maintain the position of the internal organs in their respective position. Any kind of weakness or injury to the abdominal muscles lead to muscle strain.
Causes
The main cause of abdominal muscle strain is excessive stretching of the muscles. It can happen when the muscles are used too much, due to some injuries or some sudden abnormal movements of the main trunk of our body. It can happen due to lifting, pushing, or pulling of heavy objects. Sports activities like breaststroke swimming, skating, hockey, etc., can lead to strain of the abdomen muscles.
When an obese persons tries to do some workouts forcefully, strain can occur. Even minor problems like continuous coughing or sneezing can cause strain in the muscles. This results in small tears in the fibers of the muscles if it is a minor injury, or the muscles can also get broken off completely from its ligament in case it is a serious strain. This may cause internal bleeding or give rise to hernia.
Symptoms
Persons affected by muscle strains experience a sharp pain in the area where the muscle has been injured. The pain can be so severe that it becomes difficult to even flex the muscle of that region. Usually, the pain increases during contraction of the abdomen and reduces at the time of relaxation. Basically, muscle strain is broadly categorized into three different grades based on the severity of the injury in the muscle. In the first grade the muscle strain is mild and hence, the muscle pain is mild.
This does not lead to any major restrictions in the body movements. In the second grade the pain is moderate. As a result, one cannot do movements like twisting of the body. An affected person with third grade abdominal muscle strain experiences severe abdominal pain. It often causes muscle spasms. Even normal activities get badly affected due to this type of pain.
Diagnosis and Treatment
This condition can be diagnosed mainly by the physical examination of the abdomen. It shows signs of tenderness, swelling of the muscles, and loss of strength in that particular area. In case of muscle rupture, a presence of a gap can be sensed on touching the affected area with the hand. X-Ray imaging fails to detect this problem. Ultrasound, CT, or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan may detect any hernia protrudes through the abdominal wall.
The main aim of the treatment is to bring down the swelling, pain, or bleeding. The treatment of the abdominal muscle is difficult because of the fact that complete rest of muscles in this area is impossible. Therefore, one should completely stop all those activities that can cause stretching of the abdominal muscles. It will help lessen the pain to some extent. The length of the treatment varies according to the severity of the strain.
For the first or second grade strain application of ice gives substantial relief to the pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often administered for the first two days of the pain. If the pain is significantly strong, then pain relief injections are given to the affected person. In some cases, moist heat is applied to the injury for the purpose of muscle relaxation and pain management. Sometimes, elastic bandage is wrapped up loosely around the abdomen to restrict body movements. If the tear in muscle is a serious one, surgical repair of the same may be required.
This condition can be prevented if one keeps the muscles of the body flexible with the help of proper physical exercises. It is also very important that one uses the right techniques for them. Also, if possible do it under the supervision of a good trainer.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.