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3 Differences in Sprains and Strains & How Chiropractic Helps

girl with sprain3 Differences in Sprains and Strains & How Chiropractic Can Help Both

As experienced chiropractors, we like answering the questions we receive from our patients. A common inquiry is, "What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?" Sprains and strains are injuries to the musculoskeletal system that commonly are diagnosed as conditions; they are separate issues, but people frequently mix up the two. We'll attempt to explain away some of the confusion here.

Let's look at three ways sprains and strains differ from each other.

1. Sprains and strains afflict different parts of the body

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIH), a sprain is a stretch or tear of a ligament that provides joint stability. A strain is a stretch or tear of a muscle or of a tendon in the area where it turns into a muscle.

2. Sprains and strains are usually caused by different actions

Falling or twisting the wrong way typically causes a sprain because the movement forces a joint into an awkward position and ends up stretching or tearing the ligament. Twisting an ankle, falling down the stairs, or trying to catch yourself on an icy walkway are common ways many end up with sprains.

A strain usually results from overexertion, trauma, and repetitive movement. Lifting an item that is too heavy, jumping into an exercise routine that is too strenuous, or performing repetitive movements in sports or at work are frequent ways an individual can end up suffering from a strain.

3.  Sprains and strains generally affect different areas of the body

Sprains occur at parts of the body that are injured when falling or suddenly twisting. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, ankle sprains alone number around 2 million each year.

Ankles, wrists, knees, and fingers are all areas that are frequently sprained. Strains, however, commonly occur in the back, shoulder, or hamstring, as all of these areas are affected by overexertion or repetitive movement.

Although sprains and strains are different injuries, they do have several similarities. This is most likely the reason why people confuse the pair, getting them mixed up in the process.

Now let's discuss a few commonalities of sprains and strains...

They share similar symptoms.  Both injuries can bring on pain, swelling, and limited movement at the injury site. The pain can be moderate to intense, depending on the severity of the injury. Sprains and strains also each benefit from ice packs, rest, and elevation of the injured part or extremity for increased blood-flow.

Either can require surgery.  Most diagnosed sprains and strains heal on their own with time, but a serious tear can require surgery to repair in many cases. With both types of injury, it's important to visit a doctor if severe pain, swelling, or decreased mobility occur.

Sprain and strains both benefit from chiropractic care.  Chiropractors can work wonders on the neck and back, but chiropractic care can assist in lessening the impact of a strain or sprain injury, too.

The benefits of seeing a chiropractor for sprains and sprains are twofold. First, chiropractic treatments promote healing of the injured area and, second, help strengthen the parts of the body around the afflicted area to decrease the chance of future injuries at the same site.

Sprains and strains can sideline individuals from activities they love, no matter if they are athletes or regular guys doing yard work, so It's vital to take steps to avoid these maladies in the first place.

Always properly stretch before physical activity and every morning, too, if you have time before starting your day.  Avoid overexertion and repetitive, strenuous movements to prevent strains. Take pains to clear walkways and stairways to avoid falls or sudden twisting movements to decrease your risk for sprains.

If you end up with a strain or sprain, contact Millar Chiropractic for a *free* consultation. We have extensive experience in working with patients suffering from both of these conditions, and our doctors have regular success treating sprains and strains with a wide variety of patients.  Give us a call at (256) 830-0000, if you have further questions or if you would like to schedule a consultation or appointment.

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