A strain is an injury to the muscle-tendon unit usually as a result of overstretching. It is commonly called a pulled muscle. Symptoms include localized pain, stiffness, inflammation and bruising. A precise diagnosis is needed to make sure there are no broken bones.
The best initial treatment for a strain is rest, ice, compression and elevation (usually remembered by the acronym R.I.C.E.). Massage should not be administered until 1-3 days after the injury depending on the severity. Massage is good for reducing adhesions and influencing the new formation of collagen fibers as well as reducing stiffness.