What is Abdominal Muscle Strain?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 June 2019
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Also known as pulled abdominal muscles, abdominal muscle strain is a condition where some type of injury has take place to the muscles of the abdominal wall. Usually, a strain in an abdominal muscle happens when the muscles are placed under too much stress. As a result, the muscle fibers may become strained or even tear.

Abdominal muscle strains are not limited to professional athletes. It is possible for just about anyone to undergo circumstances that place additional stress of the abdominal muscles. Simple activities such as too many repetitions of certain exercises or straining the muscles while lifting may lead to a great deal of abdominal muscle pain. Fortunately, most cases are relatively minor and can be treated with ease.

Cases involving a strained abdominal muscle problem are usually categorized in three different grades. Mild cases of muscle strain usually include a small amount of pain that does not hamper mobility. With this grade of strain, simple medication to alleviate pain and inflammation will allow the muscles to heal in a short period of time without restricting day to day activities.


Moderate cases of abdominal muscle strain involve a higher level of pain and usually do call for limiting some activities, especially exercises that involve working the abdominal muscles. Along with medication, the individual suffering with this type of muscle strain will also limit any activities that involve twisting or turning the abdominal muscles. Depending on the situation, a doctor may recommend wearing some type of restrictive bandaging during the day to help inhibit sudden movement that would pull the strained muscles.

Severe cases of abdominal muscle strain are characterized by constant pain that cannot be controlled without the help of medication. There is usually some type of bruising visible along the abdomen, accompanied by muscle spasms that further aggravate the pain from the strained or torn muscles. In some cases, it may be necessary to avoid most physical activity for a period of time while the muscles heal.

While it is never possible to completely immobilize the abdominal muscles, steps can be taken to relieve the level of stress that is placed on the muscles. Along with taking medication to help minimize the inflammation and pain, the application of ice packs during the first two days after the injury occurs can help to bring the situation under control and facilitate the healing process.


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Post 3

What can I do about oblique muscle strain? I was working out the other day and I think I may have torn one of my obliques.

Does anybody have any experience with oblique muscle strain injuries, or know what I can do to fix it?

Post 2

Sometimes a lower abdominal muscle strain can be confused for a groin pull.

However, it's important to know the difference, because that same feeling lower abdominal pain can actually be a sign of hernia, or a serious abdominal muscle injury.

If the pain doesn't subside with a few days of rest, you should definitely see a doctor to have it checked out.

Post 1

Ooh, pulled stomach muscles are the worst. I remember one time I got particularly enthusiastic at the gym and ended up pulling my ab muscles.

The worst thing about stomach muscle strain is that you really can't do anything except wait for it to heal itself.

Like the article says, you can't immobilize your abs -- the only thing you can do is to try and avoid doing things that make you hurt worse.

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