Muscle sprains and tears
Muscles, like any other soft tissues of our body, are easily damaged. Stretching muscles is a common trauma, damage to muscle fibers that occurs under the influence of excessive tensile stress.
However, it should be noted that not only tensile forces are often to blame for this kind of muscle damage – a combination of muscle tension and contraction can be the cause of such an injury.
Stretching can occur if a muscle that is in a contracted state is subjected to excessive stress, tension. Due to the nature of muscle mechanics, stretching is more likely with eccentric contractions than with concentric or isometric contractions.
In medicine, it is customary to distinguish three degrees of muscle tension: the first degree (slight stretching), the second degree (moderate stretching) and the third degree, which is characterized by massive rupture of muscle fibers.
Accordingly, in the first degree of stretching, a small amount of fibers is torn. Usually a trauma of this severity is accompanied by pain, but in most cases a person very quickly returns to his daily activity.
In the second degree of severity, a greater number of muscle fibers are damaged, therefore, the pain syndrome also manifests itself much more strongly. In addition, already with a second degree extension, a region of high pain sensitivity is formed in the muscle tissues.
The third degree, as we have already noted, is a complete rupture of the muscle (sometimes along with its tendon). Sometimes a third degree extension is diagnosed even if some muscle fibers remain intact – the diagnosis is made on the basis of extensive tissue damage. At the time of injury, a person usually experiences very severe pain, but subsequently the pain can come to a minimum, since the ends of the muscles are separated from the fasteners and the movement of the limb does not expose the muscle to additional stress.
When stretching the muscles of the third degree, surgery is usually required. Sometimes an operation is not prescribed if the damaged muscle does not play a critical role, and the possible risks of the operation outweigh its effectiveness. For example, this is often done with ruptures of the rectus femoris muscle, since the three other heads of the quadriceps femoris compensate for the lack of muscle strength caused by stretching.
Polyarticular muscles are most susceptible to stretching, that is, those muscles that cross more than one joint. The more joints a muscle crosses, the more vulnerable it is to tears and sprains. All joints that the muscle crosses, in case of damage, lose their mobility due to the limitation of the extensibility of the muscle-tendon apparatus. If a muscle crosses several joints, when it is stretched, ruptures are more likely due to the application of excessive tensile force.
You can stretch any part of the muscle, but most often such an injury occurs in the muscle-tendon joint (transition). At the junction of the muscle with the tendon, two different types of tissues are found – muscle, which has greater ductility, and tendon tissue – it is less ductile and more resistant to tensile stress. As a result of this, the transition point of one type of tissue into another becomes a weak link in terms of mechanics of movements, and it is at this point that tension most often occurs.
Stretching of the muscles usually occurs simultaneously and is accompanied by acute symptoms. However, sometimes a muscle can be subjected to a consistent and long-term effect of a tensile force, which leads to small but constant breaks in muscle tissue – chronic stretching. But even in this case, the client can usually remember what specific movement made him turn to the massage therapist. At the time of injury, edema may occur, which will pass on its own with primary inflammation (approximately 72 hours).
Muscle stretching, both acute and chronic, very often occurs in areas that have undergone stretching and tearing earlier. The scar tissue that forms at the site of the rupture again becomes a weak link from the point of view of the mechanics of muscle movement, and therefore the stretching can be repeated. Before you start working with the muscle, you should find out if your client has previously received a similar injury.
When stretched, it is necessary to exclude the load on the damaged muscle for several weeks to give the tissues time to recover. The main goal of a tensile massage is to relieve tension from a damaged muscle. In addition, the massage therapist needs to prevent the appearance of non-functional scar tissue at the site of injury and the occurrence of adhesions with adjacent tissues. To relax the muscle, you can use stroking and any other easy techniques that you prefer, and to form a healthy and functional scar, a deep friction transverse massage.
Stretching and tearing muscles are very common types of injuries, and massage can be a great option for treating and repairing damaged tissue.