Pulled Abdominal Muscle

pulled abdominal muscle hard to breathe

An abdominal strain is a tear or rupture of part of the stomach muscles, generally at the point where it connects to the hips.

Symptoms of Pulled Abdominal Muscle

Symptoms consist of tenderness and inflammation over an area of the rectus abdominis, normally at the bottom of the muscle where it inserts into the pelvis. The professional athlete may have felt an abrupt sharp pain in the abdominal muscles which would indicate a rupture. There is likely to be an increase in pain when the abdominal muscles are contracted for example when doing stomach crunch exercises.

A pulled abdominal muscle is a tear to the muscle or tendon normally of the rectus abdominus muscle although other muscles in the abdominal area such as the internal obliques or external obliques can be influenced.

Ruptures occur in weightlifters, throwers, gymnasts, rowers, wrestlers, pole vaulters and other sports which include quick entire body movements and modifications of instructions. If the athlete returns to training before the injury is allowed to recover fully then repeated injuries and chronic inflammation of the tendon may occur.

How Is Pulled Abdominal Muscle Treated

Treatment for pulled abdominal muscle includes instant first aid, rest, then when pain allows reinforcing exercises.

Immediate first aid

Apply cold therapy immediately to assist reduce bleeding, pain and swelling. The faster you can apply cold treatment to the site of the injury the earlier you can stop any internal bleeding and the much faster it is most likely to heal. Ice can be made an application for 10 to 15 minutes every hour for the first 24 to 48 hours when the injury is in the severe phase.


Rest up until there is no pain. This might be a couple of days for a mild injury or two or 3 weeks for a more severe strain. If it is possible to make use of an exercise bike pain free then do so however if it harms then wait.

pulled abdominal muscles symptoms

Picture of Pulled Abdominal Muscle


A doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen to lower pain and swelling.


A professional specialist may use electrotherapy including ultrasound and laser treatment. Ultrasound passes high frequency acoustic wave into the tissue applying a micro massage effect which can help reduce pain, swelling and swelling.


Deep tissue sports massage might be useful in aiding the healing procedure once the severe phase has passed. Cross friciton massage can be applied to the tendon where it connects to the bone. This might assist to realign brand-new collagen fibres and avoid adhesions or sticky bits in the tendon forming. Sustened pressure and other massage methods applied to the muscles can help enhance blood flow and relax tight knots in the muscle.

Exercises for Healing of Pulled Abdominal Muscle

A full rehabilitation program consisting of abdominal and core conditioning exercises ought to be started as soon as pain enables. A few basic exercises are shown listed below:

Abdominal crunch

  • Lay on your back with the knees bent.
  • Put your hands behind your neck (do not pull your neck forwards).
  • Raise the head, neck and shoulders off the ground and move your hands up, towards your knees.
  • Try to keep the exact same space in between your chin and chest to avoid straining the neck.
  • Slowly return to the start position.
  • This workout can be simplified by beginning with your hands on your thighs and moving them up towards the knees as you get in touch with the abs.

Twisting crunch

  • This exercise is performed much like the one above only you twist or turn inwards while performing the crunch. This targets the oblique muscles more.

The slab

  • This ought to just be done if pain free.
  • Start in a raise position and raise yourself so that your elbows are entirely directly. Your hands need to be facing directly forwards and you must be up on your toes.
  • Inhale and engage your core.
  • As you exhale, float one leg upwards so that it remains in line with your back. Your toes on the raised leg needs to be pointing away from you and you must remain in a position so that the back of your body represents a plank.
  • Return the leg to the start position after one breath and repeat with the opposite leg.

Abdominal roller

  • This is an advanced exercises and must just be done later on in the workout program.
  • The athlete pushes the roller out whilst on hands and knees, hold the extended position briefly then return to the starting position.
  • This is exellent for developing strong abdominal muscles and much deeper core muscles, nevertheless too much too soon might trigger the injury to repeat.
    See core strengthening exercises for further details on advanced exercises for the core and abdominal muscles.

Chronic Injuries of Pulled Abdominal Muscles

Persistent or relentless injuries may be given a steroid injection followed by rest for 2 weeks. In rare cases a cosmetic surgeon may run. If you rest as quickly as there is sign of injury then it ought to not take more than a few weeks to heal. If you have ruptured the muscle the healing time will depend upon how bad the strain is.

Last modified: October 10, 2017


The Author

Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures.

Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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