Which Is A Better Treatment For A Pulled muscle? Physiotherapy Or Massage Therapy?

Which Is A Better Treatment For A Pulled muscle? Physiotherapy Or Massage Therapy?

In our day-to-day busy lives, it is often possible that we might use our muscles incorrectly and tend to pull one of our muscles. Especially people having an active lifestyle commonly face muscle pain due to its overuse.

A pulled muscle (also called muscle strain) is often caused due to overstretching or overloading of the muscle. Instances like adding more weight to your strength training sets, adding a couple of miles extra to your morning jog, or even trying a new workout can lead to a strained muscle.

Physiotherapy and Massage therapy, both can be beneficial in treating a muscle strain. But it is seen that physiotherapy can better help in treating a strained/pulled muscle.

Let us see what effect physical therapy and massage therapy has while treating a pulled muscle:

1. Physiotherapy is generally more focused on rehabilitating muscle or joint function. On the other hand, massage therapy is used to achieve immediate relaxation from pain and muscle spasms.

2. Physiotherapy consists of rehabilitation exercises where the physiotherapist will assess your pulled muscle. He/she will check your pain history as to why and how the pain started.

3. The physiotherapist will also conduct a physical examination to check the extent of your pain. Based on the extent of your muscle pain, it will be classified into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degrees.

4. Classifying the pain helps in designing your treatment plan and estimating the recovery time. The treatment plan will consist of all the physical exercises that are supposed to be carried out during the physiotherapy sessions.

5. Pulled muscles can occur anywhere in areas like hamstring, groin muscles, quads, and upper body muscles like biceps and rotator cuff.

6. For example, if you pull your lower back muscle, the physiotherapist is likely to include exercise like,

  • The Abdominal Tuck
  • Bird Dog Hip Extension
  • Single Knee to Chest 
  • Child’s Pose

7. Apart from this, strengthening exercises are added to the physiotherapy treatment plan. These exercises are generally around the injury and help in building and maintaining strength around that region.

8. Once a combination of exercises is created, it helps in restoring mobility and regaining strength. This makes it easier to get back to a normal routine.

9. Along with these physical exercises, the following therapeutic treatments are also included: 

  • Cold Therapy: This is an immediate way of reducing inflammation. When a muscle is strained, the tissues are damaged. So to treat this ice packs or ice is applied to the pulled muscle. 
  • Compression: The compression technique consists of applying pressure to the affected area. Static compression like an elastic bandage is used in compression. 
  • Heat Therapy: Heat Therapy can be used to reduce the initial swelling of the muscle. Eclectic hot pads or hot water bottles are used to reduce the pain.

10. Home exercises and self-stretching are a part of the treatment plan and are crucial for recovery.

11. Now coming to massage therapy, it indeed is an alternative for physiotherapy. But it can offer temporary relief from the pain.

12. Massage therapy session for pulled muscle loosens the tight muscles and improves the blood flow and helps in healing the tissues. Studies show that taking massage therapy can speed up the healing process.

13. Unlike physiotherapy, the massage therapy does not strengthen the affected area. It only offers relief by improving the blood flow. But to completely heal from the pulled muscle, physiotherapy is most preferred.


Pulled muscle initially may not seem painful but can get worse with a delay in treatment. It is always recommended to consult a physiotherapist for a pulled muscle to avoid any unnecessary damage to the muscle.

Get your pulled muscle treated by la chiropractor at CRM Wellness.

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