An abdominal muscle strain is a stretch or tear of a muscle in your child’s belly. A strain may also be called a "pulled" muscle.
Your child may strain muscles during an activity like lifting, twisting, or even hard coughing or sneezing. Muscles can also get strained from overuse, such as doing lots of sit-ups or crunches.
Your child may have soreness or pain in one area of his belly, near the area of the pulled muscle. He may have more pain when he moves, coughs, or sneezes.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms, medical history, and activities, and examine your child. Your provider may ask your child to move or exercise, to see if it causes pain. Your child may have tests to look for other causes of the pain.
Your child will need to change or stop doing the activities that cause pain until his muscles have healed.
Your child’s healthcare provider may recommend stretching and strengthening exercises and other types of physical therapy to help your child.
A mild strain may heal within a few weeks. A more severe strain may take 6 weeks or longer.
Follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your healthcare provider. In addition:
Ask your child’s provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.
Teach your child to do warm-up exercises and stretches before activities to help prevent injuries. Strong, flexible muscles are less likely to be strained. Follow your child’s healthcare provider’s advice about how your child can strengthen abdominal muscles, such as by doing sit-ups or abdominal crunches.
It’s better if your child plays a lot of different sports. This helps prevent overuse of any one muscle group. Make sure that your child does not overdo it when starting an exercise program or when playing sports.
When your child lifts heavy objects, teach him to bend his knees and hips and keep his back straight.