Muscle Strain: How Can Osteopathy Support Your Healing?

A strain is when a muscle is stretched too much and tears. It is commonly referred to as a pulled muscle. 

What are the key symptoms of a strained muscle?

  • A sudden pain that worsens while contracting the muscle
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Loss of strength and range of motion. 

What can cause a strained muscle?

A strain can be a very painful injury, and it can be caused by an accident, overusing a muscle, or using a muscle in the wrong way.

Acute strains are usually caused by one event, such as using incorrect form when attempting to lift something heavy, whilst chronic muscle strains can result from repetitive injuries. This can often happen in a gym environment.

When you’re faced with a muscle strain, it is crucial that you rest and stop performing the activity that caused you the damage in the first place.

How else can you treat your muscle strain?


This will help to stop your swelling.

  • Compress the strained area with an elastic bandage until the swelling stops
  • Avoid wrapping your bandage too tightly as this could disrupt circulation
  • Ensure you loosen the bandage if your pain increases, or if the area becomes numb
  • Keep an eye on the swelling and make sure it isn’t worsening under the wrapped area.


When you elevate your injured areas, it helps to drain the excess fluid from the site of your injury, and this may reduce pain and speed up healing. In order to get the best results from elevation, you should raise the limb above the level of your heart.


If you’re able to, try to bear some weight on your strained area. For example, if you’ve pulled your hamstring, try to slowly and carefully stand. Keep as in control as you can and ensure you listen to your body. If too much pain occurs, you must stop immediately. Trying to stay mobile is especially beneficial in the first few hours following an injury as this will aid muscle fibre regeneration and reduce scar tissue forming. Avoid any sudden movements or overstretching as this could worsen your injury.

How can osteopathy support your healing?

Osteopathy uses many of the diagnostic procedures used in conventional medical assessment and diagnosis. Its main strength, however, lies in the unique way we assess our patients from a mechanical, functional and postural standpoint and the manual methods of treatment applied to suit the needs of the individual patient.

Strained muscles will take 2-6 weeks to heal, depending on the extent of your injury, so it is advisable to see an osteopath as early in your healing process as possible to ensure you are actually healing in the best way possible. As well as advising on rehabilitative exercises, an osteopath can help your healing process by gently stretching your muscles and keeping the affected joint mobilised whilst the muscles heal.

Osteopaths use physical manipulation, stretching and massage with the aim of: 

  • Increasing the mobility of joints
  • Relieving muscle tension
  • Reducing pain.

Once you start your osteopathic treatment, you’re likely to feel some improvement after the first session. For some patients, the benefits may only be felt after a couple of days. Most osteopaths will be able to successfully treat a recent or acute injury within just one to three sessions. However, older problems or chronic pain is likely to take a little longer to improve and could see a patient needing up to six or more sessions before receiving the full benefits of the treatment.

If muscle strain is preventing you from living a pain-free life, please do get in touch with the Enfield Osteopathic team. We will work together to get you in the best shape possible so you’re able to lead a comfortable life, and so you’re able to reach your 2023 goals.

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