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Differences Between a Pulled Muscle and a Pinched Nerve

Pulled Muscle vd Pinched Nerve

If you’re a gym buff, an experienced athlete, or simply love outdoor activities, you’ve surely encountered an injury or two that caused intense pain and discomfort. Rather than slapping on the usual painkiller patch or ingesting Paracetamol to ease the pain and calm your nerves, you should learn more about the nature of your injury so that you know the exact remedy as well as how to avoid it in the future. Pulled muscles and pinched nerves are two afflictions that people interchange often because they both occur after a strenuous workout or during a high-intensity, outdoor game. The first step to diagnosing your ailment is checking the affected area and gauging the level of pain you’re currently experiencing.

A pulled muscle swells immediately and can be very tender to the touch. It occurs in major muscle areas such as the back, chest, and shoulders. A stretched muscle occurs when you overextend a muscle or group of muscles too much, causing small fibers to tear. It emits a dull pain that doesn’t spread further down the body. On the other hand, a pinched nerve occurs when tissues in a certain area are pressured too much, squeezing the nerve underneath and causing pain to radiate and travel along the length of the nerve. A pinched nerve can also cause a tingling sensation that escalates into raw pain for a few minutes. A pinched nerve does not usually show up on the skin unlike the swelling of a stretched muscle.

As mentioned earlier, pulled muscles commonly occur among compound muscle groups such as the chest, back, shoulder, and legs, but they can also occur among small muscle groups such as the biceps and triceps. People who work out using a wrong or inefficient position, or who simply work out too much are prone to pulled muscles. On the other hand, people who lie down on the sofa or the bed with their arm underneath themselves or their legs at an awkward position can get a pinched nerve easily. Any part of the body that has received the application of pressure for a long duration can develop a pinched nerve.

A pinched nerve is easier to get than a pulled muscle. After all, as the name implies, it’s easy to have a nerve pinched in any part of your body. Aside from awkward positions, pinched nerves can also develop if you don’t shift body positions when you’re sitting or lying down for long periods. Crossing your legs for a long time is one of the common triggers of a pinched nerve. A pulled muscle can’t occur without strenuous activity that causes you to overextend your muscles. Simply lying down or walking around won’t cause you to stretch a muscle. The most common way to get a stretched muscle is by either sprinting or running at a constant pace for a long time. Beginners who adopt a jogging or running routine usually experience a stretched muscle as a throb in their side, a dull pain that discourages continuation of the current activity.

Both stretched muscles and pinched nerves can be cured by first aid. Apply ice to the area to reduce any swelling and then warm compresses to the affected area and gently do stretching exercises. If the pain is too intense, lie down for a while and adopt a comfortable position while first applying ice and then a warm compress. You can also take painkillers. But if the pain persists after a day or two, it’s best to see a doctor. Pinched nerves clear up sooner than stretched muscles.

Summary:

Pulled muscles occur after strenuous activity. They may be caused by an incorrect posture during working out at the gym, or caused by overextended muscles after a long, outdoor activity. A pinched nerve happens when tissues receiving too much pressure choke the nerve underneath and causing it to emit a pain signal that radiates along its length. It can happen while you’re sitting or lying down.

It’s easier to get a pinched nerve than a pulled muscle. You can get a pinched nerve even without strenuous activity. Adopting an awkward position, such as crossing your legs for a long time, is the most common cause of pinched nerves.

First aid can provide a remedy to both pulled muscles and pinched nerves via application of ice and then warm compresses. The pain of a pulled muscle can last for several days while pinched nerve pain usually clears up quickly.


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2 Comments

  1. I disagree with your last statement. “The pain of a pulled muscle can last for several days while pinched nerve pain usually clears up quickly.” A pinched nerve can take months to heal. Mine took 6!

    • glad to know. Im on day 5. terrible pain that moves from neck to shoulder to bicep area. but feels just like a nerve then a pulled muscle, like over reaching on your back to reach a itchy spot. but the pain form the nerve is much worst then i ever delt with. keeps moving around to different spots. but all from lower neck to bicepts area…. No Health Insurance, but also no injury to cause it, just woke up from sleeping the wrong way, and decided to over work some exercises trying to workout the neck-kink and now ive really done something to my self…

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