Medically reviewed by: Dr. Adeel Ali, MD, MPH
What is Muscle Strain?
Before we can talk about treating muscle strain and pain, we must first understand what is muscle-strain. It is a physical injury to your muscles. It often happens when you get over-ambitious during a work-out at the gym or a strenuous chore around the house. People sometimes say they pulled a muscle. These injuries can vary from dull muscle cramps to ruptured muscle. If you have a ruptured muscle, consult your doctor immediately. I know because I ruptured my bicep wakeboarding and I know it is essential to get it treated as soon as possible. If you have a less severe muscle injury, the information in this article will be of interest to you. Also, if you are interested in learning more about the types of muscle injuries, click on this link. https://www.painscience.com/tutorials/muscle-strain.php
I would like to focus on muscle soreness related to a muscle cramp or soreness from over-exerting during a work-out. The soreness caused by the latter is sometimes called delayed onset muscle soreness
Conventional Treatments for Muscle Strain or Pain
Some of the most common treatments to relieve muscle pain are:
- Avoiding exercise that would re-injure the muscle
- Resuming exercising that area slowly
- Range of motion exercises that do not cause pain
- Warm-up type exercises
- Taking pain killers
But here is one you may not have heard about, pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy. This treatment uses devices that emit electromagnetic waves at specific frequencies to stimulate and encourage your body’s natural recovery process.
PEMF for Treating Muscle Strain and Pain
In 2015, a scientific study was conducted at Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea. Their purpose was to test the effectiveness of PEMF therapy in treating delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). 1 The study found that participants that received PEMF therapy showed a significant reduction in DOMS symptoms and faster recovery. Other studies indicate that ice treatments and massage are only slightly effective in treating DOMS.
Additionally, it is expected that PEMF therapy before work-outs would be beneficial because it increases the blood circulation in the muscles, and it aids in the production of ATPs, which the cells need to produce energy. Additionally, it can help to prevent injury and reduces the inflammation much more effectively than ice. Therefore, many top athletes use PEMF therapy. It is reported that Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, Padres, Cowboys, Jazz, Diamond Backs, Dodgers, and many more teams use PEMF therapy to help with athletes.
Treating muscle strain and pain is not the only benefit of PEMF for exercise enthusiasts.
Benefits of PEMF Therapy for Exercise Enthusiasts and Athletes
Reduce Recovery Time
Athletes can take two or three days to recover from competitions. Even you need time to recover after a strenuous work-out. PEMF therapy reduces recovery time.
Improve Blood Circulation
The electromagnetic field has been proved to stimulate and improve blood circulation. In the above photo, you will see the blood circulation before stimulation in the middle image. The image on the right sides shows the improved blood circulation after the stimulus. You can find more details about the study below.
Benefits of proper blood circulation:
- Help fight off and avoid potential diseases and sickness.
- That enables white blood cells in your immune system will be transported around the body as needed.
- Keep your organs in their best working order.
- It helps to remove waste from the body.
Inflammation is a natural process that the body does to defends itself. A muscle injury often results in inflammation.
There are five vital signs of acute inflammation including;
- Loss of function
There are five key signs of acute inflammation:
Scientific studies have shown that PEMF therapy reduces inflammation.
Improve Joint and Bone Health
We all know that sports injuries can damage bones and joints. But, you probably didn’t know that PEMF therapy can help to rebuild damaged joints and aid in mending bones. A study named “Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields and Tissue Engineering of the Joints” found that PEMF was effective in treating joints, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and bone fractures. PEMF therapy is effective in helping the body to heal the common bone injury.
Learn more about how PEMF could help you treat muscle strain and pain
- Effects of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy on delayed-onset muscle soreness in biceps brachii.
Jeon HS, Kang SY, Park JH, Lee HS. Phys Ther Sport. 2015 Feb;16(1):34-9.
The effects of ice massage, ice massage with exercise, and exercise on the prevention and treatment of delayed onset muscle soreness.
Delayed onset muscle soreness: is massage effective?
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Elicits Muscle Recovery
Reviewed by: Dr. Adeel Ali, MD, MPH