How to Speed Up Muscle Strain Recovery

You’ve encountered one too many times a motivational quote prompting you to work out better and harder. While regular physical exercise is great for your health, pushing your limits may actually set you back.

Overstretching, improper weightlifting, and other common workout mistakes may result in muscle strain or worse. Tearing muscle tissue will always end up in pain, mild or severe.

Regardless, you will have to focus on muscle recovery, which will take days or weeks before you can hit the gym again.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to shorten the homestay. Read on about how to speed up muscle strain recovery.

What Is a Muscle Strain?

A muscle strain is when a muscle is stretched too far, resulting in an injury.

With a mild rupture, you still have some flexibility but can’t be doing the same workout routine. Typically, you would notice stiffness and soreness in the injured area. Lifting heavy things won’t be as easy as it was before. The strength is reduced, and you will feel an ache when trying to pick up a heavy bag.

In contrast, a severe tear will result in limited movement and acute pain. If the muscles have been fully torn, you will notice bruising and swelling. The class III strains may not regenerate on their own and may need surgical intervention.

Muscle strains are quite common among athletes who tend to overwork their muscles on every gym visit. The exception isn’t gymgoers who’ve had a break from exercising.

6 Ways to Speed Up Muscle Strain Recovery Process

Here are the six muscle recovery methods you can do to speed up the healing process. Use them one after another or interchangeably until the pain disappears and you can function fully once again.

Apply an Ice Compressor

Inflammation and swelling are the two common symptoms that appear soon after the muscle has been overstretched.

The first thing you should do is apply ice/cold therapy. You can do it by pressing ice or something cold on the injured area.

Repeat the process up to three times a day and follow it with heat therapy.

Note: Do not apply an ice/cold compress directly to the skin. It will stop the blood flow and prevent nutrients and oxygen from reaching the muscle tissue. A towel should be enough to protect the skin cells.

Apply Heat Therapy

Once you’re done with ice therapy, you can proceed to heat therapy. It is as effective as a cold compress and ensures a speedy recovery.

Ice helps keep the inflammation and swelling low, and a heat compress will initiate a recovery process.

A massage chair with a heat therapy function would be ideal in this situation, but we doubt many people own it. Instead, you can grab a heating pad or warming gel pad.

If none of them are available, take a bath in hot water or at least submerge the injured area.

The heat has a soothing effect on your injured muscle and will promote blood flow to the tissue.

There are some precautions, though, about which you need to remember:

  • It isn’t recommended to lie down with a heat compressor as you may fall asleep and burn yourself. Heartburn is the last thing you need on your way to recovery.
  • Do not apply a heat compressor if you have bad blood circulation.
  • If the affected area is already inflamed, do not apply heat therapy.

Apply Compression Therapy and Elevation

What can help with slowing blood circulation is compression. A simple ACE bandage is good enough to wrap around the injured area.

Compression therapy is effective at reducing swelling and inflammation. Having it on throughout the day will enable a faster muscle strain recovery process.

Note: Compression is meant to slow down blood circulation and not block it altogether. Hence, tightening it too much isn’t advised. Loosen the bandage if you start feeling numbness in the affected area.

Regardless of the severity of the rupture, you will be strongly advised to rest a lot. While laying down or sitting, elevate your muscle whenever possible. It will keep swelling low.

Elevating an injured muscle will help it reduce the accumulated fluid and let oxygenated blood flow in.

Massage Your Injured Muscle

A qualified masseuse will know precisely what area to press and work on to reduce inflammation. Deep tissue massage has a healing effect resulting in cellular recovery, which in turn restores your muscle.

Therapeutic massage may or may not be possible right after the injury, depending on the muscle sensitivity. However, the sensitivity should decrease after a week or so.

Physical Therapy

We’ve mentioned before that moderate to severe muscle tears may require physical therapy. Every case is individual, and your physical therapist will show you the stretching exercises designed for your muscle strain.

Pain Medication

Moderate to severe muscle strains are likely to limit your movements. Your ability to perform daily chores might become a big challenge for a while.

Though ice and heat therapies and massage are effective in speeding up the recovery process, they may not ease the pain.

If the pain is too much for you to perform during the day, you can purchase over-the-counter painkillers like aspirin. However, if the pain is unbearable, immediately contact your healthcare provider.

It is vital to remember that taking a painkiller and numbing your pain does not mean you can go back to your gym and start working out. It may only worsen your condition and aggravate the injury. Although gym rats can’t get over the exercise guilt, skipping the gym is for your own good.

How Long Does the Muscle Strain Healing Process Take?

Muscle strain recovery can take anything between a few days to several months, depending on the severity.

In case of a mild strain, you should be fine within six weeks. This means you can work out as usual without experiencing any discomfort.

On the contrary, it can take several weeks if you have a severe muscle rupture.

Regardless of the severity, immediate self-care is advised. The best thing you can do is rest. However, other methods we’ve discussed before will speed up muscle recovery.

Note: if you suspect you’ve had a severe strain and the pain doesn’t reduce or go away within two weeks, consult your local physical therapist. Well-planned physical therapy and surgical repair may be required.

How to Avoid Muscle Strains?

Continuous strenuous exercise may tire the body. And when you decide to lift heavier weights, your muscles are unlikely to cooperate with you, resulting in a strain.

If you don’t want an injury to ruin your workout schedule, follow these tips:

  • Take regular breaks – Let your muscles rest and recover. Resting is not a sign of laziness or lack of determination. On the contrary, it lets your body regenerate. Ideally, sore muscles need about two days to heal before they can be worked on again.
  • Sleep – Sleeping is good for the mind and body. Give yourself a wholesome 7-8 hours of sleep and let your muscles heal in the meanwhile.
  • Increase your protein intake – Create a balanced diet with high-quality proteins and other nutrients. Send us a message and receive a free consultation to learn whether your diet has everything your body needs.


To lose weight or gain muscles, you need to work your endurance and learn how to push your limits in a safe way. Otherwise, a bothersome muscle strain will set you back and fast-forward your workout routine back to the start. And we all know how hard it is to get back to sport while you’ve been off track for a while.

In short, when you need to rebuild tissue, follow these 6 ways to recover quicker:

  1. Apply an Ice Compressor
  2. Apply Heat Therapy
  3. Apple Compression Therapy and Elevation
  4. Massage Your Injured Muscle
  5. Physical Therapy
  6. Pain Medication

To avoid exercising improperly in the future, invest in your health and get a professional muscle-building program from Lucas James, a celebrity personal trainer.

About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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