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Physical therapy exercises for muscle injuries

Professional athletes are not the only ones who suffer muscle injuries. Everyone will experience some type of injury, either from accidents, overuse or wear and tear. A simple injury can be treated with anti-inflammatory meds and rest, however a more serious type will require a doctor's evaluation and physical therapy. Most physical therapy interventions include exercises either to stretch, loosen or strengthen the muscle.

One type of injury that responds well to exercise is a hamstring strain. The hamstring muscles which help to extend the hip and bend the knee, are subject to injury during sprinting and jumping. In order for the muscle to heal properly, early mobilization is necessary. Your therapist will begin with stretching exercises once the pain is controlled, then move on to strengthening. Standing leg curl is done in the early stages. As you grow stronger, you may begin strengthening exercises with resistance. Leg curls with gym equipment or resistance band can be undertaken. Aim for three sets of 10 reps.

The lower back is another area of the body that is very susceptible to injury from poor body mechanics, slipped disc, nerve compression and many other causes. Physical therapy exercises for low back pain will include stretching exercises and soft tissue mobilization to promote flexibility and mobility. Early stretching may be as simple as lying on your back with your knees raised over a bolster; or lying on your back, both knees bent, then alternate sliding both legs down and back up. The next step is strengthening and conditioning exercises to help you return to normal activities.

Pain and tightness when you try to lift your arm sideways could mean an injury in the deltoid - the big muscle on the shoulder. This muscle has three parts which help to lift the arm forward, sideways and back. Physical therapy will focus initially on light exercises to stretch the muscle and restore range of motion. Pendulum exercises also help in this regard. You bend at the waist, allowing the arm to hang in front of you, then make small side to side and circular movements with your arm. Later when range of motion has increased and pain has decreased, strengthening exercises with weights can begin.


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