According to Ann Pietrangelo for Healthline, symptoms of a muscle tear include bruising and swelling in the affected area, muscle spasms, soreness, tightness and sudden pain. Depending on the severity of the tear, discomfort can range from a dull ache with some flexibility still remaining to acute pain with limited or no movement tolerated.
Acute muscle tears are relatively common and can occur as a result of several circumstances, such as overexertion during physical activity, failing to warm up before exercising, lifting heavy objects and slipping or falling suddenly. These types of tears develop quickly and unexpectedly as opposed to chronic muscle strains, which develop slowly over time from repeated muscle engagement, notes Pietrangelo.
Causes include inappropriate posture, playing sports like baseball and tennis or maintaining an unusual position of the head and back. Muscle tears usually heal themselves after adequate rest, but it is important to continue to use the affected muscle lightly so it does not become weak. Applying ice and compression to the area and taking anti-inflammatory medications can bring swelling down and decrease pain. After at least three days, it helps to apply heat to the muscle to draw blood to the area, which facilitates healing, explains Pietrangelo. If the muscle tear causes complete immobility or is accompanied by localized bleeding, consult a doctor.