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Acute Muscle Pain: When NOT to See a Chiropractor

Acute Muscle Pain: When NOT to See a Chiropractor

We’ve all been there. You’re doing your thing, and suddenly, there’s a sharp pain that makes you cringe and grab for the area. You’ve likely pulled or strained a muscle.  As chiropractors, we see many patients with muscle pain, especially in the neck and back, where strains are common. It’s hard to think straight when you’re in pain, so it’s important to know where to begin when you have acute muscle pain. 

The ONE THING You Need to Do IMMEDIATELY!

If you suspect you’ve pulled a muscle, especially in your neck or back, the first thing you want to do is take pressure off the muscle and apply ice 20 minutes every hour while awake.  Don’t put the ice pack directly on your skin. Cover it with a towel or keep a layer of clothing between it and your skin. Gel packs work well too. 

While the one thing you need to do is ice the muscle pain, there are a few other things you can do as well. 

·         Light compression with an Ace bandage may help support the muscle and reducing swelling.  If that hurts, don’t do it. 

·         Massage therapy can help loosen the muscles, increase circulation, and improve the range of motion during the healing process. 

·         Keep adjusting your position. Don’t stay in a single place for too long. Move your neck, or walk around when you’re able.  If you’re not able to move, you’ll want to see your doctor or chiropractor as soon as possible. 

Common Causes and Symptoms of Muscle Pain

The most common causes of pulls and strains in the neck or back muscles include:

·         Poor posture

·         Repetitive movements

·         Improperly lifting heavy objects

·         Trauma, collision, or fall

·         New exertional activities

Most people experience symptoms immediately, describing the muscle pain as:

·         Sharp and shooting through the area of the body near the strain

·         Aching and throbbing pain that follows shortly after

·         Worsened pain with any pressure or movement

·         Muscle spasms

·         Extreme stiffness in the back, neck, or area of muscle strain

Depending on the cause, everyone will experience the symptoms differently.  If you’re experiencing any of the following, more serious, signs, then you’ll want to speak to your doctor or chiropractor immediately:

·         Dizziness

·         Headaches

·         Tingling and numbness in the arms or legs

·         Visual disturbances

·         Feeling unstable when standing

·         Loss of bowel or bladder control

These signal something more serious is happening.

Muscle Pain Your Chiropractor CAN’T Help

I’ve been talking a lot about pulled and strained muscles in this post.  That’s what we see the most in our office in Norwalk. It’s also where I can help you the most.  However, there’s one type of muscle pain I can’t help with, and that’s a muscle tear.  Muscle tears will always need surgery because things need to be reconnected, and it will help you avoid further injuries and weakness in that muscle.

How do you know if you have a torn muscle or a strained one?  Diagnostic images can help, but the torn muscle pain isn’t always automatic, so you may be able to tell by your symptoms.  Pain from a muscle tear usually peaks a day or two later and is accompanied by other symptoms like headache, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and trouble concentrating.  When you know which one it is, you can better plan for your treatment.  It always helps to know who to call. 

If there’s a muscle strain or pull in your neck or back, call Slovin Chiropractic Center for an appointment, or you can request one here on our website.  If you think you may have a tear, talk to your doctor about getting evaluated.  You’ll want to treat that muscle pain immediately to reduce the risk of further injury. 

Sources:

Healthline: What you need to know about treating lower back muscles

Spine-Health: Neck strain causes and remedies

Medical News Today: What are the causes of unexplained muscle aches?

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