Can you run with an Abdominal Strain? Stomach Pain When Running
If you have an abdominal strain, should you continue running? Both lifting too much weight, running, or even working in the yard can cause abdominal strains.
Although not overly common in runners, abdominal strains do happen. In today’s article, we find out what causes abdominal strains, the main symptoms and how to treat them.
So keep reading on to learn more about:
– What is an abdominal strain
– The main symptoms of an abdominal strain
– If you can run with an abdominal strain
– The difference between first and second-degree strains
What Is An Abdominal Strain?
Pain in the stomach could indicate several different problems. However, abdominal strains are among the most frequent ones felt by runners. This typically happens when the runner tears, ruptures, or overstretches the abdominal muscles.
When you feel pain in your stomach during a run, you might be experiencing an abdominal strain. If this is the case, you will feel a sharp pain in the abdomen region, especially when you are running. Other times you may experience the same pain is when you:
– Breathe deeply
– Or any other sharp movement.
Luckily it is easy to distinguish if you have a strain in the abs. The pain will be intense and you will have constant discomfort, especially when you move. Alternatively, you may notice redness across your abdominals, bruising, and even stiffness around the abdominal region.
It is also important to know what degree of strain you might have. Generally, there are two classes of abdominal strains, grade one and grade two. Grade one or first-degree abdominal muscle strain is the lesser of the two. It is usually caused by mild stretching of the stomach muscles when doing a form of activity, such as running, lifting, or playing football.
Because it’s only a mild stretch of the stomach muscles, the symptoms you will experience will be localized swelling and pain. However, this increases dramatically with movements such as laughing, coughing, or even sneezing.
Since only a few muscles are typically affected by this, you will find that the abdominal muscles will heal quickly by themselves.
The next type is grade 2, commonly known as second-degree abdominal strain. This type of injury can be extremely painful and stop you from running altogether.
The amount of pain you may experience from a grade two tear will depend on how many fibers have been torn. In most cases, you will experience weakness of the stomach muscles, localized swelling, and tenderness. In severe cases, you might experience symptoms like vomiting, nausea, sweating, increased heart rate, and extreme pain. If this is the case, call your emergency number directly. Doing so will save you a lot of pain over the next few hours.
Can You Run With An Abdominal Strain?
If you have come to this article, you have been searching whether you can run with an abdominal strain or not. While you may be looking for a yes or no answer, it is a little more complicated than that.
Firstly, it depends on the severity of the strain and how much pain you are dealing with. If you only experience light to mild pain it may be possible for you to continue running. However, if the pain gets worse, stop running immediately. All you will be doing is prolonging the recovery time.
Alternatively, if the pain doesn’t get any worse and no new symptoms show up, you may be able to keep running during the recovery period. However, it is recommended you reduce the intensity and lower the speed of your runs until fully healed.
Strain vs Hernia – What is the Difference?
Even though strains and hernias are similar, the symptoms differ between each type of injury. A hernia is caused by an internal organ or body part that protrudes through the tissue that holds it. An abdominal strain is caused by a tear or overstretching of the muscle. So while the pain may be similar to each other, they are quite different injuries.
How to Treat and Prevent Abdominal Strains
Treating a pulled stomach muscle or strain in the abdominal region requires rest. Even though most people are looking for a magic cure to help them get back to running, rest is usually the fastest way to recover.
Another way to treat a strain in the stomach is to apply ice or massage the stomach muscles. Doing both will help reduce pain and speed up the healing process.
It is important to know though that ice and massage will only speed up the healing process slightly. So don’t expect rapid results.
If you are dealing with a lot of pain, OTC anti-inflammatory tablets like ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation. Alternatively, if you pair anti-inflammatory drugs with compression, you are more than likely to reduce pain.
How to Prevent an Abdominal Strain
An abdominal strain can be caused by overuse of the stomach muscles, heavy lifting, or even sharp movements running (like sprinting). So what is the best way to prevent an abdominal strain from happening?
The best way to prevent stomach strains is to have a strong core. That means spending a few days each week in the gym strengthening your stomach muscles. This will help your stomach muscles be more resilient to sharp movements or when they are under heavy load from running, lifting, or playing tennis for example.
Another way to prevent tears in the stomach muscle is to warm up correctly. That means doing some light jogging before increasing your speed, followed by some more intense efforts. This will help prepare your body for a hard workout, and warm up the abdominal muscles. So they are ready to fire when running fast.