We all use stretches to warm up and improve the body’s flexibility to make it primed for further exercises. However, that burning sensation isn’t always beneficial, and you may be overstretching your muscles. You may ask, how do you recover from stretching?
To recover from stretching, use the R.I.C.E. treatment. Stop working with the injured muscle and immediately apply ice on the affected area. Meanwhile, wrap the muscle with an elastic bandage for compression and elevate it at or above your heart’s level. In severe cases, surgery and rehabilitation are needed.
This article is for you if you’re another victim of overstretching and have strained your muscles.
Read on to learn how to recover from a stretched muscle and prevent it in the future. We’ll also tell you how to know if you’re overstretching.
- 1 How to Treat an Overstretched Muscle 🦵
- 2 What Type of Stretching Helps Recovering From Overstretching 🙆♀️
- 3 Can Stretching Damage Your Body? 🤔
- 4 Signs of Overstretching 🙄
- 5 How to Prevent Injuries Caused by Stretching 🤓
- 6 Final Words 🤗
How to Treat an Overstretched Muscle 🦵
Now one may ask, how can I recover from overstretching? Well, it depends on how badly your muscle is strained or injured.
However, the first step is stopping the activity that led to the injury and resting for a while.
Resting is the first step in the famous treatment known as R.I.C.E. the other three steps are as follows:
Applying ice or cold packs on the injured or strained area is an effective method to improve your muscle’s condition, and the faster you do it, the better it is.
Remember that ice shouldn’t directly touch your skin.
You should continue applying the ice for 48 or even 72 hours after the injury.
In this step, you should wrap the injured area using an elastic bandage to support the muscle, lower its blood flow, and reduce swelling.
You should be careful not to wrap it too tight. If swelling in the area makes it too tight, loosen it slightly.
If you feel numbness, coolness, tingling, more pain, or increased swelling under the affected area and the bandage, you probably have wrapped it too tight.
At this stage, you should use a pillow to raise the strained or injured area at or above your heart’s level.
You should keep it elevated even while applying ice, sleeping, or sitting. By doing so, you’ll reduce muscle swelling.
When to See a Physician
R.I.C.E. treatment is a series of procedures you adopt to lessen the swelling and pain and prevent further injuries.
If you have pain, too, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), etc.
However, these methods are only effective for mild strains and injuries.
In such cases, you should visit a doctor to examine your muscles more closely.
He will ask you a few questions like whether you’ve heard a popping sound or not – which indicates the complete tearing of muscles.
The doctor may also want you to do some tests such as X-rays or M.R.I. to diagnose the severity of your injury.
In severe tearing, you may need to undergo a surgical procedure.
Still, regardless of the surgery, you’ll have to follow a rehabilitation program including a resting period and then some specific exercises and stretches to return your flexibility, mobility, and strength.
The physical therapist may carry out the rehabilitation program in their office or your home.
What Type of Stretching Helps Recovering From Overstretching 🙆♀️
There are two kinds of stretches, namely dynamic and static. These two are pretty different, and each one serves a particular goal, but do you know which one can help you recover from overstretching?
Static stretches are more effective in helping muscles recover from overstretching as they relax muscles and increase the blood flow, which then delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. However, dynamic stretches are also helpful in preventing pulled muscles by preparing muscles for the workout ahead.
Experts recommend Static stretches for cooling down the body when muscles are loose and flexible and can reach a full range of motion.
These stretches involve just one position you hold for a specific period, like the toe touches.
When you perform static stretches at the end of your training session, your muscles find a chance to relax and return to their first previous length, and blood flow increases.
As a result, muscles get more oxygen and nutrients, which helps them recover faster.
Moreover, blood flow will wash away the chemicals causing pain in the injured area.
Some examples of static stretches include posterior capsule stretch, hamstring stretch, and quadriceps stretch.
On the other hand, dynamic stretches are ideal for preventing pulled muscles.
They focus on controlled movements that prime tendons, muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissues for the workout session ahead.
They usually involve active muscle tightening and movement of joints in their full range of motion which helps warm up your muscles and reduces the chance of any stretch-related injury.
So it’s recommended to do these stretches before your workout.
Can Stretching Damage Your Body? 🤔
Experts recommend always incorporating some stretching into our exercise routine – before and after it – to improve our muscle’s flexibility and avoid injuries.
Some workouts such as yoga or Pilates also include specific stretching activities targeting the main muscles worked in these activities.
Stretching can damage your body and lead to mild or severe injuries if you overdo your muscles beyond their potential range of motion. When you overstretch, your muscle fibers or the muscles themselves tear. It can also cause problems in tendons, ligaments, or even joints.
Signs of Overstretching 🙄
Stretching is crucial to your workout routine as it increases your muscles’ flexibility and prevents potential injuries.
You should start your stretch gradually and continue until you feel the tension in your muscles.
At this point, you should stay stretched for up to 20 seconds.
Overstretching occurs when you stretch muscles to exceed their normal flexibility and range of motion.
Once you go over your muscles’ potential, you’ll put them at the increased risk of strains and overstretching.
Another typical indication of overstretching is the ache or soreness you feel in your muscles the day after the stretch.
In such cases, you should cut down on the intensity of your stretches.
While mild muscle strains due to overstretching can last only a few days, recovering from some other severe signs such as bruising, swelling, and spasm can take months.
How to Prevent Injuries Caused by Stretching 🤓
Overstretching can lead to painful strains and even more severe injuries; however, you can always prevent them by following some simple tips.
The first and most crucial step for reducing the risk of overstretching is to warm up your body before the workout.
When you warm-up, blood flow to your muscles increases, and soft tissues like joints and ligaments loosen; therefore, they’re less likely to tear or rip.
It can be a combination of light cardio and some specific exercises for the involved muscles.
For instance, do some arm circles if you’re doing shoulder workouts.
Improve Your Flexibility
Another important tip for preventing overstretching injuries is to work on your flexibility.
It’s especially important for strength training because many of the exercises involved in this type of training shorten the muscles, which leads to decreased flexibility and an increased risk of overstretching.
Remember to perform specific stretches for all the major muscle groups; particularly those you were training in that session.
For example, you can stretch your hamstrings, quads, glutes, and calves if you’ve been running.
If you’ve been training upper body muscle groups, stretching the chest, back, shoulders, and arms muscles is good.
Always remember not to go overboard and overstretch the muscles.
Stay focused and respect your muscle’s range of motion and flexibility, not to go beyond its potential elasticity.
Mild discomfort is natural, but the pain is not.
Dehydration can significantly increase the risk of orthopedic injuries and muscle strains.
Therefore, drink adequate fluids (at least 20 ounces) two hours before your workout session, then drink 7-10 ounces more per 10-20 minutes of the workout.
You have to drink another 8 ounces of water or other healthy drinks at the end of the session and keep hydrating your body throughout the day.
Here are our favorite workout drinks that hydrate and replenish vital electrolytes available on amazon with quick delivery.
Final Words 🤗
Overstretching muscles can lead to mild strains and sprains.
This can be treated with rest and applying ice or cause severe tears in muscles or tendons and ligaments at worst, which may require surgery.
However, you can always prevent injuries by warming up, incorporating stretches in your workout, and drinking adequate fluids.
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