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Oblique muscle strain

Oblique muscles are found in the abdomen which helps in twisting the trunk, bend sideways and helps in breathing. These muscles are connected to the ribs on the side and on the top of the hip bone on the lower end. The two types of oblique muscles include the external and the internal oblique.

The bigger external oblique muscles are found on the higher area of abdomen located under the skin and subcutaneous fat. The internal obliques are found below the external muscles on both sides of the trunk. These muscles can become strained due to a direct trauma over the abdomen, overuse as well as sudden and forceful twisting or bending. These can occur while performing bending and twisting exercises, chronic coughing, lifting of heavy equipment and tools and raking the soil while planting can sometimes cause straining on the oblique muscles.

Common symptoms of an oblique muscle strain

Oblique muscle strain

The pain becomes severe when performing stimulating work and pain is felt after the pull or can be gradual and persists even while at rest.

  • There is stiffness and pain on the affected area
  • There is microscopic muscle tearing caused by a forceful twisting or bending of the trunk which stretches the oblique muscles. This can result to sharp pain that can be felt at the side of the abdomen and the lower end of the chest.
  • The pain becomes severe when performing stimulating work and pain is felt after the pull or can be gradual and persists even while at rest. If the strain is minor, the pain can increase while performing exercises.
  • The oblique muscles become stiff upon waking up in the morning.
  • If the strain is severe, there is swelling, weakness and bruising of the side muscles and tender when touched.
  • Deep breathing, laughing and coughing causes severe pain in the lower side of the chest and abdomen.

Common causes of oblique muscle strains

  • Chronic coughing
  • Rowing
  • Performing twisting or bending in exercises
  • Lifting using a pitchfork or shovel
  • Bowling forcefully in cricket
  • Slouched posture
  • Sitting for long periods of time
  • Raking soil
  • Lifting heavy tools on the ground

Treatment and home remedies for oblique muscle strain

  • Take plenty of rest and avoid all activities for several weeks especially those that involve sports can make the condition worse and can interrupt with the healing process.
  • Apply an ice pack over the affected area in order to help minimize the inflammation and pain by limiting the flow of blood to the area. Avoid applying the ice pack directly on the skin since it can cause damage to the tissue. You can use crushed ice on the affected area at least 15-20 minutes and wait for an hour before repeating the application.
  • Wrap the abdominal muscles using a compression bandage which is an elastic bandage suited for this condition. This helps provide some protection and support while the area starts to heal.
  • After 3 days, apply a warm compress to help increase the flow of blood and essential nutrients at least 15-20 minutes and wait for an hour before repeating the application.
  • Take the prescribed pain medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin to help minimize the pain and swelling.

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