CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368

Search Health Library

Abdominal Muscle Strain

(Pulled Muscle in Abdomen; Strain, Abdominal Muscle)

Pronounced: ab-DOM-in-uhl MUSS-el str-AY-n

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    TOP

Abdominal muscle strain is caused by:

  • Activity that the muscle is not ready for
  • Excessive exercise
  • Improper technique while playing sports
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Sharply twisting the body

Abdominal Muscles—Side View

Abdominal muscle and pelvis
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors    TOP

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

  • Improper technique during sports activities, especially running and jumping
  • Previous strain or injury to the area
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Tight abdominal muscles

Symptoms    TOP

Symptoms may include:

  • Muscle pain or soreness immediately after an injury
  • Stiffness and discomfort
  • Problems flexing or pain while stretching the muscle
  • Pain when touching the area
  • Muscle spasms
  • Swelling or bruising

Diagnosis    TOP

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

Muscle strains are graded according to their severity:

  • Grade 1—Some stretching with micro tearing of muscle fibers
  • Grade 2—Partial tearing of muscle fibers
  • Grade 3—Complete tearing of muscle fibers; this may also be called a rupture or avulsion

Treatment    TOP

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    TOP

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

  • Do not overexert yourself while exercising.
  • Get proper training for sports and exercises.
  • Do exercises to strengthen your abdominal muscles.
  • Learn how to properly lift heavy objects.
  • If you are tired, stop exercising.

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:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated June 2015. Accessed February 29, 2016.
Johns Hopkins sports medicine patient guide to muscle strain. John Hopkins Medicine website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed February 29, 2016.
Sprains, strains, and tears. American College of Sports Medicine website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Published 2011. Accessed February 29, 2016.
10/26/2010 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com: Massey T, Derry S, Moore R, McQuay H. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.
Last reviewed March 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 12/15/2013

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.

Health Library: Editorial Policy | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Support
36000 Darnall Loop Fort Hood, Texas 76544-4752 | Phone: (254) 288-8000