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Strain Tips

When you end up with a muscle strain, follow these tips:

  • Don't stretch or massage the muscle; instead, give it a rest.

  • Elevate a strained arm or leg to prevent swelling.

  • Wrap ice in a clean cloth and apply to the injury for 20 minutes, remove the ice for 20 minutes, then reapply for 20 minutes with fresh ice if needed.

Repeat this cycle for the first full day. By keeping the affected muscle cold initially, you can prevent the muscle fiber from swelling, which could touch a nerve and cause more pain.

Online Medical Reviewer: Godsey, Cynthia M.S., M.S.N., APRN
Online Medical Reviewer: Lambert, J.G. M.D.
Date Last Reviewed: 2/22/2005
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