Twist and Shout: Dealing with Sprains and Strains

Sprain and Strain

If you do any kind of physical activity at all — running, hiking, lifting weights or even mowing the lawn — you have probably dealt with muscle or joint sprains or strains. Sometimes these are the results of poor form or forced movement. Other times it’s your body telling you it’s getting too old to keep doing whatever it is you’re doing. For the record though, according to

  • sprain is a stretch or tear in a ligament.
  • strain is also a stretch or tear, this time affecting the muscle itself or a tendon (the tissue that connect the muscles to the bones).

Fortunately sprains and strains are preventable and also recoverable.

How Does a Sprain or Strain Occur?

sprain (think of missing the curb while walking or overstepping while running) “usually happens when a person falls, twists, or is hit in a way that forces the body out of its normal position,” says WebMD. You can even sprain your wrist (as I have while hitting the heavy bag) or your thumb (accomplished while skiing). 

A strain, on the other hand, occurs when a person twists or pulls a muscle or a tendon. A strain can happen in the gym when lifting or squatting too much weight, or while playing racquet sports or even playing golf. Strains can happen while you mop the floor. Athletes aren’t the only ones who can strain a muscle. The lesser mortals among us have been known to strain muscles doing a variety of movements that depend on frequent repetitive motions.

Treatment for Sprains and Strains

An old soccer coach of mine always stood by the RICE method for treating strains and sprains. RICE stands for:

Rest: Take the weight off of whatever you overworked. You should lay off any activity for at least 24-48 hours. If, after that time, you still cannot put weight on your ankle, knee or elbow than it’s time to see your doctor or chiropractor.

Ice: Cold intervals of 10/20: That means a bag of ice on the injured area for 10 minutes at a time and then take it off for about 20 minutes. Do this as often as possible for at least two days. And you don’t want to put ice directly on the skin.  

Don’t Rush

Orthopedic doctors, notes WebMD, often note that “many people make the mistake of being either too eager to rush back into athletic activities after a sprain or strain, or resting the injured area too long.” As I said earlier, none of us are professional athletes. There’s no nobility in rushing and risking another injury!

Instead, slow is the way to go. Gradual rehabilitation is the key! Your doctor or chiropractor can best recommend what is the best therapy to follow and what exercises can help you get back to your old self!

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April 28, 2015 by osseous is licensed under CC BY 4.0

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

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