We take our muscles for granted. We know they’re there. However, people rarely consider the complex processes involved. That’s why many tend to ignore muscle damage causes. We simply forget that they require maintenance and care.
Sure, muscle stiffness is one thing. Yet, muscle damage goes beyond unconditioned muscles. If you want to build muscle, you’ll need to take care. It’s also why it’s better to exercise muscle groups separately.
So, how can you avoid damaging your muscles?
Understanding muscle damage causes in general
Muscle damage, or strain, refers to injuries to muscles or tendons. This damage can range from overstretching to tears. Most often, people damage their legs, ankles, hands, and elbows.
Most people see muscle damage as a consequence of strength training. Naturally, you can damage your muscles by lifting weights. However, that’s not the only risk factor. Any exercise that demands sudden muscle movement is risky. Even throwing things with bad technique can strain your muscles.
That’s why warming up and stretching are crucial. That’s true both before and after working out. Otherwise, you might face symptoms rather quickly. Limited motion, pain, and swelling are red flags.
How to know if you’re experiencing muscle damage
So, you’ll feel pain if you damage your muscles. That’s fairly obvious. But, what are the symptoms of muscle strain? You can tell you ran into muscle damage causes via different signs:
- Sudden pain or soreness over time.
- Limited movement range, stiffness, or weakness.
- Bruising, discoloration, and swelling.
- Muscle spasms.
The severity of muscle damage mostly manifests in movement. You might feel slightly stiff with a mild strain. But, intense main and heavily limited movement are signs of severe damage.
Luckily, severe damage is unlikely if you’re careful. Make sure to rest if you feel any discomfort. Most of the time, you’ll feel soreness and slight stiffness. Muscle weakness is also likely after intense workouts. Yet, they’re not emergencies.
Diving into muscle damage causes
So, what causes muscle damage? Basically, the answer is an overwhelming force on the muscle. That causes tears in the tissue. That can also happen in the tendons or junctions between muscles and tendons.
The most common causes are explosive movements. That means sudden and intense movement, like pushing off during sprints. That’s why contact sports are most problematic. These movements can cause overwhelming force on muscles and tendons.
Contracting your muscles while elongating is also a common cause. An example is lifting heavy weights. You’re contracting your muscles (due to the weight). But, you’re also elongating them (lifting).
You can make your muscles more susceptible with poor conditioning. That simply means not being ready for the workload. So, make sure you warm up and stretch accordingly. Likewise, don’t dive into intense activity if it’s your first time.
Muscle damage causes treatment and prevention
Muscle damage is interesting because treatment and prevention are similar. Except for a few exceptions, all tips are similar. So, I’ll cover prevention first. Then, I’ll dive into unique approaches to treatment.
For prevention, the first step is to go for a training program that fits your condition. Don’t go for the heaviest weights or fastest times. Once you’re ready, make sure to warm up and stretch properly.
After working out, make sure you rest your muscles. If you trained your arms yesterday, work out your legs. Then, train your back or abs. You can also use mild cardio to rest and condition your body.
Also, don’t be ashamed of calling it a day if you feel discomfort.
For treatment, it’s roughly the same. Rest and stretch the muscles you’ve damaged. Additional methods include cold compresses/ice packs on your muscles. Do it every hour after the injury.
Extreme cases might need surgery. If the discomfort is too strong, talk to your doctor.
The holistic takeaway
Muscle damage causes are a pretty simple topic. Too much force on your muscle encompasses all factors. Contact sports, overexertion, and other factors are just manifestations.
So, make sure you warm up and don’t overdo it at the gym. If you do feel discomfort, take a breath. You should even call it a day if it’s too intense.
Finally, we have stretching. Stretching is vital for preparing, resting, and healing your muscles. That’s why I recommend Hyperbolic Stretching. It’s easily the best guide to preventing and treating muscle damage.