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Abdominal Muscle Strain

(Pulled Muscle in Abdomen; Strain, Abdominal Muscle)

Definition

An abdominal muscle strain is a partial or full tear of the small muscle fibers in the abdomen. The abdominal muscles are grouped around the abdomen and trunk. They make up the core muscles in our body.

Causes

Abdominal muscle strain is caused by:
Abdominal Muscles—Side View
Abdominal muscle and pelvis
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Risk Factors

These factors increase your chance of developing an abdominal muscle strain:

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Muscle strains are graded according to their severity:

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Recovery time ranges depending on the grade of your injury. Treatment steps may include:

Supportive Care

Your muscle will need time to heal. Supportive care may involve:
  • Rest—Activities may need to be restricted. Normal activities will be gradually reintroduced.
  • Ice—Ice therapy may help relieve swelling. Heat or cold may be advised throughout recovery if they provide benefits.
Prescription or over-the-counter medications may be advised to reduce pain.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist will assess the muscles. An exercise program will be created to help recovery and to strengthen the muscles.

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of getting another abdominal muscle strain, take the following steps:

RESOURCES

American Council on Exercise http://www.acefitness.org

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.familydoctor.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Physiotherapy Association http://www.physiotherapy.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

References

Abdominal muscles explained. Better Health Channel website. Available at: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Abdominal%5Fmuscles?open. Updated June 2015. Accessed February 29, 2016.

Johns Hopkins sports medicine patient guide to muscle strain. John Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsortho.org/muscle%5Fstrain.html. Accessed February 29, 2016.

Sprains, strains, and tears. American College of Sports Medicine website. Available at: http://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/sprains-strains-and-tears.pdf. Published 2011. Accessed February 29, 2016.

10/26/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Massey T, Derry S, Moore R, McQuay H. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.

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