For most highly active people, a pulled abdominal muscle is a common injury that differs in severity depending on the level of trauma suffered during athletic activity and can range from a slight muscle pull to a torn muscle. Signs and symptoms of a pulled abdominal muscle are relatively easy to notice and diagnose.
Pain and Discomfort
Perhaps the most obvious symptom of a pulled abdominal muscle is a level of discomfort or pain in the torso. According to Pierre Rouzier, MD, a general practitioner at the Summit Medical Group of New Jersey, pain associated with a pulled abdominal muscle can be present for anywhere from a few days to as long as a few months.
According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), another common symptom of a pulled abdominal muscle is the spasm of the abdominal wall following injury. Immediately following trauma, the muscle will become rigid in order to prevent further injury to the affected area. As a result, the muscle may be forced into a state of spasm as the body adjusts to the injured muscle fibers and connective tissue. In the case of a muscle rupture, however, a patient may bypass spasm and move directly into muscle failure and weakness.
Bruising and Swelling
In the most severe cases of abdominal muscle injury, a patient may experience a particular level of bruising or swelling. According to the UPMC, this is mainly due to the fact that blood can be released in the injured muscle (as with any bruise) as the body's natural defense against infection following tissue trauma. Since internal muscle bleeding will usually only occur in the presence of a torn tissue, these patients will benefit most from immediate medical attention from a general practitioner other medical professional in order to limit the risk of further injury.
According to the University of Michigan Health System, a symptom of the most severe cases of pulled abdominal muscles may result in a bulge in the lower stomach or groin area, otherwise known as a hernia. When the abdominal wall is torn or strained to the point where the intestines protrude into the outer abdominal cavity, a hernia will result.