A strain is a stretch or tear of a muscle or tendon. Tendons are strong bands of tissue that attach muscles to bones. People commonly call muscle strains "pulled muscles."
The usual cause of muscle strain is forceful contraction (tightening) of the muscle during an activity. For example, it might happen when you run, jump, throw, or lift a heavy object.
Your healthcare provider will examine the injured area and find that it is tender.
The general rule for treating strains is R-I-C-E:
The best way to prevent strains is to warm up properly and stretch your muscles before exercise. The stronger and more flexible your muscles are, the less likely they will be strained.