No matter how careful you are, accidents will happen. You stumble, you slip and fall or you land awkwardly on one foot while playing sports. The pain is sharp and you wonder: did I get a sprain or a strain? In this article, we will discuss the differences between sprain vs. strain and why you should see one of the chiropractors at our practice if you suffer one of these injuries.
Do Not Ignore a Sprain or Strain
The first thing we want you to remember is that, beyond the sprain vs. strain differences, they both have something in common: they are serious injuries which need treatment. You should not let these injuries heal by themselves, as some people would advise you.
Injuries represent a trauma, where a muscle is pulled beyond its limit or joint becomes misaligned. The only way the body knows how to fix a sprain or strain is by building hard scar tissue to repair the damage. Thus, the respective part of the body becomes stiffer, less mobile and loses its strength and flexibility.
The right way of dealing with a sprain or strain is going to a chiropractor to heal them. Chiropractic is a safe, non-invasive branch of medicine, which focuses on healing the underlying cause, not just its end result – the pain.
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Main Causes of a Sprain or Strain
You can get a muscle strain or sprain in various ways, from falling down in an awkward position to being involved in a car accident. However, most of our patients report that they were playing sports or suffered a slip and fall.
Realistically, it is practically impossible to avoid getting a sprain or strain. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, strains and sprains are among the most frequent sport injuries, both for professional and amateur athletes.
What Is a Muscle Strain?
A muscle strain can be either acute or chronic. Acute strains are caused when the muscle is suddenly pulled or twister in an accident, resulting in small ruptures of the fibers that make up the muscle.
Chronic strain is the result of intense physical exertion and repetitive movements which cause wear and tear to the muscle. The condition may appear within months or years, depending on a person’s level of fitness.
In both cases, strain is recognized by symptoms of:
• Intense pain at the injury site
• Tenderness and redness of the skin
• Swollen muscle tissue.
What Is a Sprain?
In the discussion of sprain vs. strain, we have a concrete difference between the two. A sprain is always the result of a single traumatic event – thus, acute. Sprains affect joints, especially the ankles, knees, wrists and elbows.
A sprain means that the joint is twisted out of its natural position. In some cases, nerves and ligaments may be pinched between the misaligned joint elements, causing pain, numbness or the feeling of pins and needles.
How Chiropractic Helps Heal a Sprain or Strain
Now that you know the difference between sprain vs. strain, let us focus on the best way of healing these injuries. We believe that chiropractic is the right choice for anyone, because it does not involve invasive medical procedures or taking pills.
Depending on the type and severity of the injury, the chiropractor will recommend:
• Stretching and exercises
• Electronic muscle stimulation
• Physical therapy and rehabilitation.
If you suffered a sprain or strain, we encourage you to book an appointment with one of our chiropractors as soon as possible, before the injured area develops scar tissue.