A muscle tear is also referred to as a muscle strain. A muscle strain occurs when excessive stress is placed on a muscle beyond what it is capable of and the fibres tear. It is very common among athletes. A minor strain is also referred to as a pulled muscle where the muscles do not actually tear. You can usually treat a muscle tear on your own unless you have had severe pain or pain that will not go away. The most common symptoms of a tear are swelling, tenderness, bruising and pain.
Medications are used most often to alleviate the symptoms of a muscle tear while it heals. Ibuprofen and Naproxen are used to alleviate swelling and tenderness of the muscle. These medications also allow you to move around better. Medications are usually combined with another form of treatment, such as rest.
The RICE formula is often used to treat a muscle tear: Rest the area of injury. Stay off of it and do not repeat the activity that caused the injury until it has healed. Your physician may request that you use crutches if the injury is to your leg or ankle. Use ice to help minimise the swelling. Apply ice packs several times a day for 20 minutes at a time. Use compression with an elastic bandage to help prevent further swelling and blood loss. Elevate the injury to minimise swelling. Try to prop the injury up so that it is higher than your heart and blood and swelling will not pool around the injury.
A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) unit is an electrical device that is worn and electrodes are placed on the skin. A TENS unit sends an electrical pulse to the site of injury and acts to stimulate the body's own natural narcotics to heal the area. The electrical pulses can also work to block the pain from the injury so that you will be more comfortable as you heal. There is controversy surrounding the TENS unit for pain and whether or not it actually works for everyone.