Pain is caused by different muscle conditions, for example the tearing or straining of a muscle. Depending on the seriousness of the injury, the damaged muscle stiffens or cramps. Muscle pain can also come from damage to tissues connected to the muscle (like tendons), or tissues running next to the muscle (like nerves).
We have written articles about how we test and treat painful muscle conditions (such as Muscle Spasms and Cramps and Torn Muscles) to help you start your healing. We believe that each person’s case is unique and we want to address your specific needs. If you would like us to investigate or provide some insight, we invite you to contact us by clicking the link below.
Muscle strain (torn muscle)
Each muscle is made up of a million or more small muscle fibers. Muscle damage is when these fibers start tearing. A person can tear around a thousand muscle fibers at a time. These injuries are grouped by the level of the damage to the muscle.
Muscle spasm or cramp
A muscle spasm or cramp is when a muscle tenses up (or tightens) without you controlling it. Click here to read our article outlining the differences between spasms and cramps and an overview of our treatment of painful muscles.
Repetitive muscle strain
(overuse and overload injury)
This type of muscle pain develops when a muscle has to tighten at regular intervals with a great amount of force. The muscle strains to pull together under this type of ongoing pressure causing the small microscopic fibers to tear. This type of muscle strain is commonly referred to as ‘pulling’ a muscle. Click here to read about how we treat torn muscles.
Over time, a tendon will develop small tears if put under too much pressure or strain. When a tendon tears often (small but regular tearing), it will cause Muscle Tendinitis. The pain from this injury will appear quickly and unexpectedly. Typically, tendon injuries occur in three areas:
- musculotendinous junction (where the tendon joins the muscle)
- mid-tendon (non-insertional tendinopathy)
- tendon insertion (e.g. into bone)
Non-insertional tendinopathies start out as very small injuries (microtrauma) which worsen from repetitive overloading e.g. over-training.
- After a heavy workout session it is common to experience Delayed muscle soreness (DOMS) because muscles are pushed beyond their usual limits.
- The physical shortening of a muscle causing a loss in your normal range of movement.
- Muscle stiffness can be related to a more serious problem, for example when muscles act to protect a damaged joint.
A bruise is caused when direct pressure is applied to a muscle. The small blood vessels (called capillaries) within the muscle tear from the pressure causing the blood plasma to escape into the surrounding tissue. This explains the discoloration of the skin but discoloration is not always visible.
Medical scans show muscle damage
There are three scans that can show a muscle tear (arranged from least to most expensive):
- CT (Computerized tomography scan)
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan)
It is very rare that you need these expensive scans. We deal with muscle damage in patients every day and will be able to diagnose the muscle damage without the use of these scans.
Nerves and blood vessels are very sensitive structures that run next to or between muscles. When a muscle gets damaged, these nerves and blood vessels can also get damaged. Nerve damage is commonly experienced as ‘a sharp shooting or burning pain’ down the limb. In severe cases, numbness or pins and needles could indicate that nerves are damaged. If you experience these symptoms accompanied with muscle pain, you should consult a medical practitioner immediately.
Why is your muscle pain lasting longer than expected?
You believed the pain would go away over time (on its own) but it didn’t
You went to the Doctor who told you to rest and take painkillers. The painkillers helped to relieve the immediate pain but didn’t help your injured muscle. As soon as the painkillers wore off, the pain returned
A family member (or friend) told you that “Everybody experiences muscle pain as they grow older,” and that you should just accepted it
In the past you went to other Healthcare Professionals (or a Physiotherapist) but nothing they said or did seemed to help
YouTube exercises and home remedies didn’t help relieve the pain, or in some cases made the muscle pain ten times worse
You thought it would be a good idea to rest because your muscle was so sore. However, afterwards your muscle felt even more stiff and tight than before
You went for massages, hoping they would relieve the pain. The massages felt pleasant and relaxing, but didn’t do anything to fix your muscle pain in the long term
Experiencing these situations or applying similar advice and not getting results is a good thing. Why? Because these experiences help you know what doesn’t work for you. It means that you are closer to finding out what does work for you!
We invite you to book an appointment with a Physiotherapist (at our Pretoria practice). During an appointment we assess your symptoms, diagnose the cause, educate you about what is happening in your body and then start treatment. See our FAQ for more in depth information about what to expect from a physiotherapy session.
Alternatively, click the link below to book a FREE phone call. The phone call is complimentary and there is no obligation to book any appointments with us after the call is over. This is an opportunity to get an expert’s advice about your situation. Our goal is to help you make an informed decision about what to do next concerning your muscle pain.
Choose a Cilliers & Swart Physiotherapist to aid you in getting rid of your muscle pain
What can we do for you?
We quickly put an end to pain and stiffness – often within a couple of sessions
We help you find out what is going on in your body and help you understand the root cause (and symptoms) of your muscle pain
Pain can rob you of sleep or rest. We make it easier for you to return to your normal sleeping patterns and positions so that your energy and potential for recovery increases
Cilliers & Swart Physiotherapists closely manage and treat your problem. We also provide you with related exercises to speed up your recovery
Using painkillers in the long-term can be harmful to your health. We help you lower or completely stop your need for painkillers to manage pain
Our physiotherapists safeguard you against dangerous and costly surgeries and painful injections
We reduce visits to specialists or doctors who only order you to take more pills
Muscle pain can limit the activities you enjoy with your family and friends. Our experts help you get back to spending quality time on the activities you (and your loved ones) like
We can get you to sit comfortably and walk longer than 15 minutes, in both cases without feeling that your muscles are weak, in pain or about to collapse
In short, we help you get back to living life free from chronic muscle pain. For information about costs and availability, click the button below:
4 steps to get rid of muscle pain quickly.
Decide to get help.
Many people put off going for treatment, that by the time they receive treatment the injury has worsened over time or caused other problems. Don’t think that pain will ‘just go away with time’. It might sound brave to ‘put up with pain’ over an extended period of time, but the lack of treatment could end up costing you more in terms of time (for recovery) and resources (money) the longer you wait.
Do the RIGHT exercises.
One of the best things to help ease your pain is the appropriate series of progressed exercises (as advised by your Physiotherapist or Health Professional). The right kind of activities can reduce your pain and increase your range of movement. Above all, exercises ensure that problems don’t come back. However, the wrong kind of exercises have the potential to increase the pain even more.
Avoid sitting still for long periods.
Ever tried to get up from the sofa after resting for a while, but you struggle because your muscles feel painful and tight? That’s because one of the worst things you can do is to ‘rest’ in a sitting position for too long. Too much rest and sitting in awkward positions makes your muscles stiff and tight. As a safety measure we recommend specific strengthening exercises for better posture. We can help you get active by combining these exercises with our Physiotherapists’ hands-on treatment.
Get hands-on Physiotherapy treatment.
Physiotherapy is proven to improve the lives of people suffering from muscle pain. Muscle pain could be affecting your physical performance in a professional or private capacity. It could even threaten your independence or get in the way of spending quality time with family and friends. Physiotherapy can enable you to live the life you desire as quickly as possible.
If you would like to know how the Physiotherapy team at Cilliers & Swart can help you, we invite you to book a FREE, no-obligation, risk-free “Call me back” phone call.
Note: This Free Call is a service we offer to people who are nervous or unsure. You might not know if Physiotherapy is the right treatment for you. If you are unsure, please fill out our online form. We will contact you to find out what is wrong and how we can help. There is no financial obligation or risk on your part. You have nothing to lose except your pain.