Torn Abdominal Muscle Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention

Torn Abdominal Muscle Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention

Torn abdominal muscles are also referred to as sprains and involve tearing of the supporting muscle fibers. This causes pain, inflammation and weakness and is usually due to improper movement during workouts or lifting of heavy objects. There are two muscle areas that can be torn: the muscles over the front of your abdomen and the muscles that wrap around the side of your abdomen. Diagnosing abdominal muscle tears starts by identifying symptoms, ruling out other possible injuries and deciding on a treatment course. To repair a torn abdominal muscle, it is important to see your physician to determine the extent of the injury.

What are the symptoms of an abdominal muscle tear?

There are three grades of a torn abdominal muscle, but all grades involve immediate pain and soreness. For grade 1 tears, discomfort is moderate, and normal activity is possible for short periods. For grade 2 tears, pain is greater, and the affected area is sensitive to contact. Activity brings more pain for grade 2 tears. Grade 3 tears often involve a complete tear of your abdominal muscle, an injury that brings immediate flares of pain and makes normal activity difficult without bouts of severe pain and muscle spasms. Also, twisting your upper body causes you muscle discomfort for all three grades.

What are treatment options for an abdominal muscle tear?

The best thing for your torn abdominal muscle is plenty of rest. Stop activity that stretches the muscle unpredictably, and ice the injured area for up to 20 minutes several times a day. To help manage the pain, take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers, like ibuprofen. When your muscle begins to heal, lightly stretch it, but do not overdo the stretching. For severe abdominal muscle tears, surgery is possibly your only remedy.

Home care for an torn abdominal muscle strain includes

Apply a cold compress:

  • Wrap ice in a moist hand towel. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
  • Apply for 20-30 minutes, three times daily, to maximize healing potential.

After 3 days, try warm compresses or soaks for muscle stiffness and pain.
Rest the injury. Avoid activities where you could re-injure the abdomen. Do not perform exercises that cause pain.

Gradually work up to muscle strengthening exercises after 1-2 weeks. Gentle massage may be beneficial after 1-2 weeks. Gentle stretching while being aware of pain limits will help repair muscle function and prevent scarring of the surrounding tissue.

Eat a diet high in protein, including lean meats, fish, poultry, milk, cheese and eggs. Protein is what makes up muscle fibers, making increased intake of protein-rich foods a valuable tool in muscle repair. Rest is essential to the body's healing time and repair rate.

What are ways to prevent an abdominal muscle tear?

Strengthening your abdominal muscle to allow it to take more pressure is a good way for you to prevent tears. Also stretch before exercising, and make sure you warm up if your exercises put a lot of stress on your torn abdominal muscle. Even if you have warmed up, know your limits. Overexertion can lead to tears regardless of the strength of your muscle.

Tears of the abdominal muscle limit mobility and daily activities because of their position on your body, but the muscle does recover with the right remedies, which include resting and icing. Strengthen your abdominal and back muscles to help prevent tears.