You have a strained abdominal muscle when the rectus abdominus is ruptured or torn. The abdominal muscles consist of the transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, and the internal and external obliques. The rectus abdominis muscle is long, whereas the transversus abdominis muscle is triangular – both of them are flat. Together, the abdominal muscles assist in breathing, allow movement, and provide support to the spine. You may develop back pain if your abdominal muscles are weak. Let's find out more about it.
Signs and Symptoms of Abdominal Muscle Strain
You have a first-degree strain if you sustain damage to a few muscle fibers only. You may not even have any specific sign of injury during the activity that has caused it in the first place. You may only notice a sensation of tightness or cramp when you stretch or contract the abdominal muscles.
You have a second-degree strain if an injury damages several muscle fibers. With this type of strain, you will experience immediate pain and you will not be able to continue the activity. Such a strain is also sore to touch.
You have a third-degree strain if the muscle is ruptured completely. This will make you experience an immediate stabbing pain in the abdomen. There will be pain even if you move a little. You may even notice a bulge of soft tissue after sustaining the injury. You usually develop a bruise after a few days just below the injury – it develops because of bleeding within the tissues.
Treatment of Strained Abdominal Muscle
Take Plenty of Rest
Once you notice you have a strain in the abdominal muscle, you should avoid taking part in specific activities. It is better to take complete rest for a few days because this will help your muscle to relax and recoup. It is especially important if your job involves abdominal twists and turning. Sometimes, you have to wear wraps or bandages to avoid aggressive muscle movements. Just be sure to see your doctor in case your pain is severe or gets worse even after rest.
Make Use of Warm Compresses
Consider applying a warm compress to the affected area to help relieve the pain. You can also keep an ice pack on the affected area to reduce inflammation. You can actually alternate between the two to control inflammation and pain. This will also help keep the area soft.
Take OTC Medicines
You can also reduce pain by taking OTC pain relievers. These medicines may also prove effective against the inflammation caused by an abdominal muscle strain.
Prevention of Strained Abdominal Muscle
Be sure to spend some time warming up before you engage in physical activities. Stretching makes you less prone to injuries because it helps make your muscle more extensible. Ideally, you should be warming up for at least 20 minutes prior to matches.
Consider performing a cool down after training sessions to accelerate recovery. It is better to have a cool down session the very next day of your training because this allows your muscles to get rid of any waste products.
Try exercises to help improve the flexibility and strength of your abdominal muscles. When your abdominal muscles are strong, you will be able to complete match activities in a controlled manner. Muscle strength also lowers chances of uncoordinated movements, which often lead to injury. Use a Swiss Ball or try other core strength exercises to improve muscle strength.
Pay attention to your diet because what you eat can also affect your abdominal muscles. It is important to have a high-carb meal at least 48 hours before a match to have enough energy necessary for muscle contractions. Becoming fatigued during matches or training would increase your chances of getting injured. Be sure to have enough carbs and fluids in your diet to avoid being short of fuel during your training sessions.