Abdominal lateral tension can develop when performing an activity for which the musculature of this part of the body was not prepared.

An abdominal lateral tension or an abdominal muscle sprain is type of injury where the internal structure of the abdominal muscles is damaged.

Sprains are actually ruptures or tears in a muscle. Normally, these tears are very small. However, they can cause enough discomfort.

What are abdominal muscles?

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 peritoneum leaf, closed by the diaphragm at the top; on the bottom, the pelvis is responsible for delimiting them.

The abdominal muscles are in 4 muscle groups:

  • External obliques
  • Internal obliques.
  • Abdominal rect.
  • Abdominal transverse.

Generally, it has always been believed that the training of this musculature was the “miracle exercise” to bring the abdominals to light. 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 proper 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 abdominal lateral tension?

This lesion can appear in any sudden movement. Many times we make movements in incorrect positions that at the beginning do not pose any problem, but in the long term they harm us.

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

On the other hand, we must remember that all excesses are bad, even when doing physical exercise. Bringing the body to borderline situations can have serious consequences. In this case, this injury could occur, but much more serious injuries can occur if we do not 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 a bad technique can also lead to this injury.

Finally, abdominal lateral tension may appear when we twist the body suddenly, either by a scare or by an emergency.

Risk factors

We have seen the causes that can trigger this injury. Now we will explain that there are a number of factors that favor the development of this annoying lesion. 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, favor circulation and activate the muscles to make an effort.

Having weak back muscles: by not having a quality muscle mass, the lesions appear more easily to any movement. Therefore, doing physical exercise in a moderate way is essential to enjoy good health.

Exercising in cold weather: cold weather aggravates the situation of not warming properly or of making sudden movements that cause abdominal lateral tension. In these cases, it is even more fundamental to progressively exercise.

What are the symptoms of this injury?

Although the following mentioned symptoms may 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 have the injure, 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 the injury.
  • Rigidity and discomfort.
  • Difficulty flexing or feeling pain when stretching the muscles of the abdomen.
  • Pain when touching the affected area.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Inflammation or appearance of bruises.

How to treat it?

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

You can apply an ice pack on the injured area for about 20 minutes. Do not put ice directly on the skin because you can burn it.

However, do not hesitate to go to the doctor to be guided by a good treatment. If necessary, it can indicate the use of analgesic drugs.

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