Muscle strains and sprains are the most common musculoskeletal injuries during physical activities. They are often very painful and cause discomfort due to the inflammation they generate. It is important to be physically prepared to prevent them, but in case an injury occurs, there are therapeutic options to relieve the pain and inflammation.
One of them is the use of wheat bags to heat in microwaves, useful to reduce painful and inflammatory symptoms. We will tell you what are the main causes of muscle strains and the benefits of thermotherapy, so come and get to know them!
What are the causes of a muscle strain?
Muscle contracture is considered to be one of the most common injuries, both in athletes and in other people. It appears as an involuntary and constant shortening of the muscle fibres. At the level of the affected muscle, an excessive level of tension is generated which also causes intense pain when it is abrupt.
Although it is not a serious injury, it is usually a nuisance for those who have suffered it. It also prevents the natural movements of the affected area due to the pain it causes.
The main causes include:
- Cold environments: Ambient cold usually causes vasoconstriction at the peripheral level, including the muscles. If any activity is carried out in these conditions, muscle strains can occur. They also tend to occur in very sudden changes in temperature, especially when we sleep and some extremities are unintentionally left uncooked.
- Muscle trauma: Any blow to the upper or lower limbs can generate a muscle strain as a reflex response. This occurs because the body has a defensive response towards other adjacent structures. It may also be due to the tearing of the muscle fibres caused by the blow and as a consequence the muscle contracts.
- Bad posture or sudden movements: Sudden movements or being exposed to bad posture for a prolonged period of time can cause muscle strains. In general, they usually occur progressively and very slowly and the pain is much milder. These contractures are those that occur in areas such as the neck and shoulders.
- Due to overexertion: This type of contracture is much more common in athletes when they subject their bodies to very demanding routines. This causes excessive tension at the level of the muscle fibres, which keeps the muscles contracted. In some cases, the body is unable to return to a state of rest or relaxation at the end of the routine.
- Electrolyte and metabolic disturbances: Dehydration and the loss of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, chlorine, among others, due to physical activity generates muscle strains and sprains. This is because the loss of fluids leaves an accumulation of toxic substances in the muscles that cause involuntary contractions.
- Emotional stress: Constant tension in the muscles as a result of emotional stress can also cause strains.
What are the benefits of applying heat to relieve pain caused by muscle strains and sprains?
A number of therapeutic measures can be used for muscle strains and sprains. Among the most common, effective and easy to perform is thermotherapy or heat therapy . Heat generates a series of beneficial effects on the muscles, among which we can highlight:
Anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect
This effect is achieved through the vasodilatation that heat produces at tissue level. This favours greater blood flow which provides better nutrition and faster recovery. This minimises pain, inflammation and favours the elimination of toxins that generate greater inflammation and pain.
Muscle relaxant effect
The heat produces a distension of the muscle fibres which results in a relaxation and improvement of the contracture. Thermotherapy prevents muscle spasms and relieves fatigue, considerably improving tissue resistance.
Tissue recovery effect
The vasodilatation produced by the heat provides a greater blood flow at muscular level guaranteeing a better nutrition of the tissues. In this way there can be an improvement of the injuries and an optimal rehabilitation of the affected areas.
Toxins are the waste products of metabolic processes and are powerful inflammatory and pain-inducing agents. Heat is an excellent toxin purifier as it accelerates the immune processes by activating the lymphatic system. Most of these wastes are eliminated through urine.
How and where to use wheat bags to reduce muscle strains?
You can probably answer this question yourself based on your experiences. The back and lumbar, trapezius, shoulders and neck are the most important areas.
- Back: The causes are very varied in this case (poor performance in sport, sudden gestures, poor postural hygiene, joint injuries, emotional tensions…).
- Lower back: This occurs when a lumbar muscle is torn, due to overexertion (such as lifting something heavy inappropriately) or a fall, or if it remains overextended.
- Trapezius: The main reasons for stiffness in this muscle are poor postural hygiene (slouching) and stress. The pain itself favours this inadequate, protective posture and prevents sufficient blood flow, leaving the area less and less oxygenated and its cells, therefore, unable to work properly, creating a vicious circle.
- Neck: They appear in response to trauma and also when adopting bad postures, especially during sleep. It is particularly important to treat this problem due to the sensitivity of the area and its consequences if the stiffness spreads.
- Shoulders: There are two main reasons for this, overexertion due to poor posture (reaching for high or very distant objects) and stress.