A pulled muscle happens when a muscle is put under too much stress, such as being stretched too much. This results in small tears in the muscle, which in turn results in pain being felt by the person. Medically, there are three categories of pulled muscles: Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III. The lowest grade is the mildest and is accompanied by slight discomfort. The second grade has more discomfort and a little swelling or bruising may even occur. The third grade is the most severe injury and can cause considerable pain. It may also hinder normal movements, with very noticeable swelling and bruising.
The treatment for a pulled muscle will naturally depend on the level of the injury. In general, however, there are things that you can do to treat all levels. The first thing that you have to bear in mind is to rest and give the muscle time to recover. The body is a wonderful thing, and it has self-healing abilities. Especially for Grade I and Grade II, a few days of rest will normally do the trick.
Another important thing to remember: be liberal with ice. Applying ice on the pulled muscle will help alleviate the swelling and the pain. As soon as you realize that you have pulled a muscle, you should apply ice for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, as frequently as you want to.
You may also take painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicine. These are especially helpful for Grade II and Grade III conditions.