Abdominal strain

An abdominal strain is any tear, stretch or rupture of the abdominal muscles. It has a variety of possible causes.

What are the usual causes?

  • Abrupt twisting or rapid movements
  • Engaging in intense and strenuous exercise
  • Lack of rest to overused muscles
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Incorrect technique during sports that involve turning, running and jumping
  • Sneezing, coughing or laughing

What are the indications?

If an individual has an abdominal strain, the stomach surface might feel tender and inflamed. The sensation can be felt while contracting the abdominal muscles and moving.

Abdominal strain

The application of an ice pack can lessen the pain, bleeding and swelling as well as the inflammation.

Other signs that might be present include:

  • Swelling
  • Abrupt sharp abdominal pain
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness
  • Bruising
  • Muscles cramps or spasms
  • Pain or difficulty stretching the muscle

Management of an abdominal strain

An abdominal strain can be treated at home. A mild case will recuperate in just a few weeks. There are several treatment options that can promote faster recovery.

Cold therapy

The application of an ice pack can lessen the pain, bleeding and swelling as well as the inflammation. The pack can be applied on the site for 10-15 minutes at a time. The process can be repeated every hour during the initial few days after the injury.

Heat therapy

Heat can help relax the muscles and lessen the tension to reduce the pain. It also improves the flow of blood to the site.

Over-the-counter pain medications

Over-the-counter pain medications can be given for pain relief. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also lessen the swelling and inflammation.


An abdominal binder can be worn to compress the abdominal muscles. The pressure that is applied can reduce movement and the swelling.

Adequate rest

Get enough rest and avoid activities that can strain or stress the muscles. This is important if the individual sustained an injury.


Once the symptoms have settled, the individual can start abdominal and core strengthening exercises. The exercises can be done a few times in a week.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on an abdominal strain is for learning purposes only. Learn to properly manage this injury by taking a standard first aid course with Vancouver First Aid.


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