An abdominal muscle strain is a partial or full tear of the small muscle fibers in the abdomen. The abdominal muscles are grouped around the abdomen and trunk. They make up the core muscles in our body.
Abdominal muscle strain is caused by:
These factors increase your chance of developing an abdominal muscle strain:
Symptoms may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Muscle strains are graded according to their severity:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Recovery time ranges depending on the grade of your injury. Treatment steps may include:
Your muscle will need time to heal. Supportive care may involve:
Prescription or over-the-counter medications may be advised to reduce pain.
To help reduce your chance of getting another abdominal muscle strain, take the following steps:
American Council on Exercise
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Canadian Physiotherapy Association
Public Health Agency of Canada
Abdominal muscles explained. Better Health Channel website. Available at: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Abdominal_muscles?open. Updated June 2015. Accessed February 29, 2016.
Johns Hopkins sports medicine patient guide to muscle strain. John Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsortho.org/muscle_strain.html. Accessed February 29, 2016.
Sprains, strains, and tears. American College of Sports Medicine website. Available at: http://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/sprains-strains-and-tears.pdf. Published 2011. Accessed February 29, 2016.
10/26/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Massey T, Derry S, Moore R, McQuay H. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.
Last reviewed February 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.