Inflammation, swelling, bruising, and mild, moderate or intense pain are symptoms of a strained or torn muscle, according to WebMD. Strains occur when a person pulls or twists a muscle or tendon, and they frequently occur in contact sports or activities that require repetitive motion, such as tennis or rowing.
Other symptoms of muscle strain include muscle spasms, weakness, stiffness and limited range of motion, according to Healthline. Muscle strains can be caused by overuse, fatigue and improper use. Severe strains may require medical treatment and surgery. Depending on the extent of the damage, physical therapy may also be recommended, which can take several months for full recovery.
Most mild or moderate strains can be treated at home with a method called RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation, as explained by Healthline. Rest in the first few days is important; however, it shouldn't extend too long. Easing back into regular activities keeps the muscles from becoming too weak and prolonging the healing process. Ice packs, compression bandages and keeping the affected area elevated above the heart help reduce swelling. Starting RICE therapy is important in the first few days following an injury, and taking over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen helps with pain relief.