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Abdominal Strain: Symptoms, Home Remedies, and Prevention

Abdominal Strain: Symptoms, Home Remedies, and Prevention

Abdominal strain is a common abdominal injury that typically happens when abdominal muscles are overworked and strained. This condition usually requires rest to heal.

Once the strain injury heals, abdominal strengthening exercises can help prevent future injuries from occurring.

Table of Contents

  • What causes abdominal strain?
  • How is an abdominal strain diagnosed?
  • What are the risk factors for abdominal strain?
  • What are the treatments available for abdominal strain?
  • How do you apply kinesiology tape for abdominal strain?
  • What is the best gentle yet long-lasting kinesiology tape?
  • How long does it take for an abdominal strain to heal?
  • What abdominal exercises can I do at home?
  • Conclusion

Are you experiencing abdominal strain? 

This article will talk about the common causes of abdominal muscle strain, what it feels like to have the injury, and some of the treatment options available for you. 

We’ll also be discussing a  kinesiology taping protocol that you can try to help alleviate the discomfort brought about by this condition. 

What causes abdominal strain?

Usually caused by repetitive movements when playing sports or when exercising, abdominal muscle strain is the result of the muscles being stretched or torn. 

causes of abdominal strain

Some of the most common causes of abdominal pain include: 

  • Twisting suddenly 
  • Excessive exercise
  • Not giving overused muscles time to rest
  • Lifting heavy items 
  • Improper technique when exercising or playing sports 
  • Coughing or sneezing 

How is an abdominal strain diagnosed?

abdominal strain diagnosis

Abdominal muscle strain can be diagnosed by a doctor or our healthcare provider by doing asking about your medical history, doing a physical exam as well as taking note of your symptoms, 

What does an abdominal strain feel like?

The primary signs of an abdominal strain include pain when:

  • Coughing, sneezing, or when laughing 
  • Doing sprints or when doing intense workouts 
  • Standing up after sitting down for a long period of time

What are the risk factors for abdominal strain?

Risk factors for abdominal strain include:

  • Obesity.Obesity can make it harder for abdominal muscles to support the body's weight, putting more stress on abdominal muscles. Obesity is often associated with excess fat around the midsection which increases pressure on abdomen muscle groups.
  • Poor posture.Poor posture during everyday activities may increase abdominal strain risk. Good abdominal muscle strength helps maintain good posture while abdominal weakness makes abdominal muscles more likely to be injured. 

poor posture causes abdominal strain

  • Not warming up.Abdominal strain is more likely when abdominal muscles are not warm and flexible like they should be, for example, after a long period of inactivity (such as sitting down for a long time or remaining inactive during travel). 

not warming up

Abdominal strain treatment

  • Ice. Applying an ice pack on the area helps relieve pain, swelling, and even bleeding. It’ll also help with inflammation. When using a cold pack, make sure that you protect your skin from b wrapping it with a towel or cloth. Apply it to the affected area for ten to fifteen minutes at a time. 
  • Heat Therapy.Applying a heating pad on the affected area helps relax our muscles and relieve tension. This then helps in decreasing the pain you feel. Additionally, heat also increases blood flow which can then promote healing while reducing inflammation. 

You can apply the heating pad to the affected area for twenty minutes at a time.

  • Rest.Rest for a period of time until abdominal pain and cramping subside. 

rest to help recover from abdominal strain

  • Over-the-counter painkillers.Taking painkillers such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium may help reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain. 
  • Kinesiology taping.Applying kinesiology tape may help with abdominal strain by relieving pressure off the affected area. It’ll also promote fluid circulation which may aid the healing process. 

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  • Strengthening exercises.Doing strengthening exercises after abdominal muscles have healed from the strain. This can be very helpful in preventing future abdominal strain injuries.

If your injury doesn't heal with rest and home care treatment within two weeks and/or it's getting worse instead of better, see your doctor right away. There could be another health condition such as appendicitis or some abdominal tumors that need medical attention.

Kinesiology taping for Abdominal Strain

While kinesiology taping is often seen on athletes it’s slowly making its way into the mainstream. With  various kinesiology tape benefits, it’s proven that not only sportspeople can make use of this sports tape. People who work in an office, people who love to work out, and even pregnant moms may rely on this tape for support and more! 

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If you’re new to taping, you should  read more about all the kin taping basics here. And, don’t forget to read up on the  kinesiology taping tension guidelines - it’ll be really helpful when you’re applying the tape. 

Here are the kinesiology taping steps to aid abdominal strain: 

  1. Start by leaning back to give your body a bit of a stretch. 
  2. Then, take a strip of tape, take off the paper backing at the end of the tape without touching the adhesive. 
  3. Anchor the tape to the area of concern in a diagonal position. Then, give the middle of the tape 25% tension before applying. 
  4. Apply the end of the tape with 0% tension.
  5. Get another strip, and apply the tape just above the first strip. Again, make sure that you apply 0% tension for the anchor and 25% tension for the middle part of the tape. Apply 0% tension for the end of the tape, as well.
  6. Rub in the tape to activate the adhesive and get a better stick. 

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With Tape Geeks, rest assured that your  skin stays safe from allergies and rashes!  Unlike other kin tape brands that use lower-quality adhesives (usually from China) that can cause skin irritation, our kinesiology tapes have 100% premium adhesives.

While a lot of made-in-China products can be trusted, Chinese kinesiology tape is not recommended - which is where many brands turn to. 

Here at Tape Geeks, our kinesiology tape is created in an ISO-certified and dermatologist-approved facility in South Korea - a place known for its reliable and effective skincare products. 

Make sure that you’re rash-free while getting support for your active lifestyle! 

Click the link below to shop for STRONG yet SENSITIVE kinesiology tape. 


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How long does it take for an abdominal strain to heal?


For a mild abdominal strain, it may take a few weeks to heal provided that you’ve tried the different home remedies that we’ve talked about in the previous section. However, if you see no improvement in terms of pain (or if it worsens), we highly recommend seeing your doctor or healthcare provider have the injury checked. 

Abdominal Exercises

After fully recovering from the abdominal stain, you may begin doing abdominal and core strengthening exercises that may help you avoid this injury in the future. Here are some of the popular exercise moves that you can do: 


The plank is a good exercise to help strengthen the core muscles. 

As you gain strength, you can increase this move’s difficulty by moving the forearm to a push-up position. You can alternate pushing one arm and then the other while maintaining a steady rhythm. Make sure to keep the hips and the shoulders are stable why doing so. 

  1. Start with a press-up position. 
  2. Bend your elbows until your forearms reach the floors beneath your shoulders. Check to make sure that your body forms a straight line from your head down to your toes.
  3. Ensure that your core is tight, and take note of the space between your hands. Make sure that you’re maintaining a neutral spine position. 
  4. Hold the position as long as you are able. 

Side Plank

The side plank is another way of doing the regular plank. Some of the benefits of this exercise include strengthening the muscles of your shoulders, hips, and the sides of your core, It also protects your spine, improves your balance, and reduces your risk for a back injury. 

  1. Start by lying on your side with your knees bent. Prop your body up using your elbow. 
  2. While maintaining your balance, raise your hips off the floor and hold the position for  5 seconds.  
  3. Then, go back to your initial position and rest for 10 seconds. 
  4. Repeat this move five to ten times before switching to the other side and performing the same moves again. 


Another great exercise for your core, curl-ups help reduce your risk for back pain and injury. This exercise also promotes better balance and stability since it develops your core muscles. 

  1. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent. 
  2. Bring your arms to your sides. 
  3. Raise your head and shoulders up a few inches. And, bring your arms up to your thighs. 
  4. Hold this pose for five seconds before lowering yourself back down. 
  5. Repeat this move eight times and do three sets. 


If you’ve been experiencing pain or discomfort in your abdominal muscles, then this article may help provide some useful information on common causes of the injury, what it feels like to have a strain, and treatment options. 

We also discuss kinesiology taping as an option for alleviating the symptoms caused by abdominal muscle strains. To read more about other injuries that are commonly experienced in athletes like  ankle sprains and  shoulder impingement, check out our  blog!

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