What is a lateral abdominal strain?

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Lateral abdominal tension can develop when performing an activity for which the muscles of this part of the body were not prepared.

An abdominal lateral strain is also known as an abdominal muscle sprain. This is an injury that damages the internal structure of the abdominal muscles.

Sprains are characterized by breaks or tears in a muscle. These tears or tears are usually very small. However, they can be quite annoying.

What are the abdominal muscles? What is it for?

The muscles of the abdomen are divided into three groups: anterior, lateral and posterior. They largely constitute the abdominal walls, which are covered by the sheet of the peritoneum, closed by the diaphragm at the top; at the bottom, the pelvis is responsible for delimiting them.

The abdominal muscles are mainly made up of 4 muscle groups:

  • External obliques.
  • Internal obliques.
  • Abdominal rect.
  • Transverse abdominal.

Generally, it has always been believed that training these muscles was the “miracle exercise” to bring out the abs. In addition, they have always been used to improve aesthetics. However, these muscle groups have more and more important functions.

They are essential for the correct functioning of the lumbar spine. They also have a stabilizing role, based on the ability to decrease pressure on the dorso-lumbar vertebral discs. Due to this, it generates stability both in static and in movements, also avoiding pelvic anteversion.

What can cause a lateral abdominal strain?

This injury can appear in any sudden movement. Many times, we perform movements in incorrect postures that at first do not pose any problem, but in the long run they hurt us.

We also tend to carry inadequate weights and make extra efforts because we are capable of it, but we do not think about the consequences. In this sense, lateral abdominal tension can develop when performing an activity for which the muscles of this part of the body were not prepared.

On the other hand, we must remember that all excesses are bad, even when doing physical exercise. Pushing the body into extreme situations can have serious consequences. In this case, this injury could occur, but much more serious injuries can result if we don’t take proper care of it.

It is also very important to know if we are doing the exercises or sports activities correctly, since doing them with bad technique can also lead to this injury.

Finally, lateral abdominal tension can appear when we twist our body suddenly, either due to a fright or an emergency. Muscles become sharply tense and damaged.

Risk factor’s

We have seen the causes that can trigger this injury. Now we will explain that there are a series of factors that favor the development of this annoying injury. Among the main ones we can mention:

  • Do not warm up before exercising: warm-up exercises prior to any physical activity are essential to avoid any type of injury. Thanks to them, we prepare the muscles, promote circulation and activate the muscles to make an effort.
  • Have weak back muscles: by not having a quality and strengthened muscle mass, injuries appear more easily before any movement. For this reason, moderate physical exercise is essential to enjoy good health.
  • Exercising in cold weatherCold weather exacerbates both not warming up properly and making sudden movements that cause abdominal lateral tension. In these cases, it is even more essential to exercise progressively.

What are the symptoms of this injury?

Although the following symptoms mentioned can appear if you suffer from abdominal lateral tension, it does not mean that they are always due to it. For this reason, you should not assume that you are injured, as they could be the cause of other conditions.

It is very important that you go to the doctor to avoid complications and resolve doubts. Some common symptoms of this injury are:

  • Muscle pain  immediately after injury.
  • Stiffness and discomfort.
  • Difficulty flexing or feeling pain when stretching the muscles of the abdomen.
  • Pain when touching the affected area.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Swelling or bruising.

How is it treated?

The abdomen is not a muscle that we can have at rest like the quadriceps or the biceps. It is a muscle group that, as we already know, is essential for posture and movement.

You can apply an ice pack to the injured area for about 20 minutes. Don’t put the ice directly on the skin  because it can burn it.

However, do not hesitate to go to the doctor so he can guide you with a good treatment. In the necessary cases, he can indicate the use of analgesic drugs

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