Remedies for pulled oblique muscles

The oblique muscles are found on the sides of the abdomen between the hip and the rib cage. There are 2 sets of oblique muscles such as the external and internal obliques which both function in the twisting, bending and support for the spine.

Most injuries of the oblique muscles are due to tension from excessive repetitive movements or forceful and strained movements. Pulled oblique muscles can cause severe pain and disruption of the regular movements of the body. It usually heals in about 4-6 weeks.

Symptoms of pulled oblique muscles

Pulled oblique muscles

Most injuries of the oblique muscles are due to tension from excessive repetitive movements or forceful and strained movements.

  • Stiffness and pain of the affected area.
  • Pain happens gradually or immediately after the injury and still persists even when resting. Pain becomes worse when performing exercises
  • Sharp and stinging pain can be felt along the sides of the abdomen and the lower area of the chest especially when twisting and bending the trunk forcefully due to the development of microscopic tears.
  • The affected area becomes stiff especially in the morning upon waking up. There is limited movement especially when performing regular routines.
  • Bruising, weakness, swelling or inflammation of muscles on the side of the abdomen.


  • Take plenty of rest especially the affected area. Avoid any movements or activities that can make the condition worse.
  • Take the prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen to lessen the pain and inflammation due to pulled oblique muscles.
  • Apply an ice pack during the first 48 hours to lessen the flow of blood, inflammation and swelling. Apply the pack on the area for at least 20 minutes and remove and wait for 20 minutes before reapplying on the area. Avoid applying the ice pack directly on the skin to prevent the condition from worsening. Wrap the pack in a towel before applying on the area. If the skin becomes red or bright pink, remove the pack.
  • After 48 hours, apply heat on the affected area or alternate between heat and cold. Apply a heating pad for 20 minutes to relax the muscles and increase flow of blood to promote fast healing of the condition. Moist heat sources such as a hot water bottle or taking a hot water bath is also good for the condition. If the heat makes the area uncomfortable and causes pain, remove the heat immediately. Avoid sleeping on a heating pad to prevent burns on the skin that can worsen the condition.
  • Take the prescribed medication such as opioid analgesics and muscle relaxants to lessen the pain.
  • Seek the help of a physical therapist for some rehabilitation exercises to regain the strength and range of motion of the affected area. Oblique muscles are essential for various types and range of movement but also susceptible to injuries especially among athletes. Always stretch before performing any physical activity to prevent injuries.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on pulled oblique muscles is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage muscle injuries including pulled oblique muscles by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.


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