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Sprains and Strains: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Sprains and Strains: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Sprains and strains can be extremely painful. They typically occur as the result of a fall, a car accident, a workplace injury, or an injury from sports, exercise, or other physical activity. They are usually considered minor injuries, although a more severe strain or sprain could require weeks of rehabilitation for the patient.

What is the difference between a sprain and a strain? A sprain is an injury to a ligament, the connective tissue which connects the bones to each other at your joints. The most frequent sprain seen is an ankle sprain, though they often occur in the knee, elbow, or wrist as well. A strain is an actual tear in the muscle itself. The most common locations for a strain is in the calf, thigh, groin, or shoulder muscles.

Symptoms of a Sprain:Dr. Allen Maryott Rocky Hill - Leg Sprain

Pain when the injury occurs

Symptoms of a Strain:

Muscle stiffness
Swelling of the area
Muscle tenderness
Muscle soreness

If your injury is serious, you may experience joint instability or even joint disability, if the muscle or ligament is torn.

Cause of a Sprain

When a joint is bearing weight and a twisting force is applied at the same time, this can force a ligament to stretch beyond its normal capacity, causing a sprain of the ligament.

Cause of a Strain

When a muscle is forced to bear more weight than the weakest part of that muscle can handle, the muscle can get torn, creating a strain. This tends to occur during physical activity in which your muscle is required to stretch at the same time that it is bearing weight. There is some evidence that once a muscle has been injured, it may later have a more limited flexibility, which may increase the risk of a strain.

Those At Risk of a Sprain or Strain Have:

Exercised without performing a full warm up
Been in a car accident
Experienced a work injury
Used improperly-fitting athletic equipment
Exercised when bones or muscles are fatigued, or past the point of fatigue
Participated in activities or sports that they were not in the condition for


Dr. Allen Maryott Rocky Hill - Sprained FootYour physician may put the injured limb in a sling or a splint, depending on the severity and location of the injury. He or she may also recommend the RICE protocol. RICE is an acronym for rest, ice, compression, and elevation of the injured area.

You may also want to try complementary forms of care, with your health care provider’s supervision, such as lavender essential oil, which speeds healing, reduces bruising, and reduces inflammation, or arnica-based lotions or gels, which have some of the same properties. Chiropractic care is another excellent healing modality.

Chiropractic Care

Sprains and strains are a common reason that visit a chiropractor for the first time. Chiropractors can offer many treatments that patients cannot get through home treatment or physical therapy.

Chiropractors can use a variety of effective treatments to help reduce pain, speed healing, and offer relief. Some treatments offered by chiropractors may include gentle joint manipulation, electrical stimulation of the muscle, trigger-point therapy, laser therapy, ice therapy, or heat therapy.

A chiropractor can also show you how to speed recovery by using proper stretching and strengthening exercises.

If you are seeking effective reduction of pain experienced following a sprain or strain, or are hoping for a safe way to aid in healing, consider chiropractic care. Chiropractic can be safely used alone or in conjunction with other healing modalities, whether traditional or alternative.

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