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The difference between strains and sprains

There’s a common misconception of the difference between sprains and strains, which we feel is essential to cover as it can affect the avenue of care you decide to pursue.


To understand the difference between sprains and strains, you first need to know what ligaments and tendons are. Ligaments connect bones to bones within a joint, while tendons connect bones to muscles.


In order for you to experience a sprain, you would need to tear or overstretch a ligament. Whereas with a strain, you are tearing or overstretching a tendon or muscle..


What causes sprains and strains?


There are many different ways for you to experience a strain or sprain in your body. Some of the most common ways people encounter a sprain is generally through a twisting force while carrying a weight that forces the ligament to overstretch. On the other hand, sprains often occur during spontaneous and unexpected movements that cause the tendon to tear or overstretch (like a fall or twist).


Some of the most common causes of sustaining a sprain or strain include:

  • Prolonged repetitive motion.

  • Overexerting yourself.

  • Lifting heavy objects.

  • Slipping and falling.

  • Athletic activities.


How do you treat sprains and strains?

One common way that people treat a sprain or strain injury is a method called RICE, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Based on current literature we know there is a better method for most sprains and strains called MICE, which stands for Motion, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. You can self-regulate exercises with all small ranges of motion of the affected joint. If the pain gets worse or becomes unbearable, it is best to see a doctor immediately.


Remember if you hear a pop/tear sound, or are in extreme pain, or the joint feels unstable consider seeing your primary care provider.


Outside of the MICE or RICE method, we’d recommend that you look into utilizing physical therapy or chiropractic care. The holistic methods of approaching your injury can assure that you are receiving the best treatment and often times heal through the process much quicker than simply ignoring it.


At ProActive Health, we’ve helped our patients achieve their goals through spinal alignment, reducing back pain, and offering detailed programs to assist in recovery from a sprain or strain; come check us out!


Visit us at ProActive Health today to “Align Your Spine, Realign Your Life!”


Ready to see a chiropractor, whether for the first time or as someone looking to visit a new chiropractic office? Dr. Doug Patterson at ProActive Health is the top choice in the Michiana area!


In 1993, Dr. Doug Patterson hurt his back and first sought the care of a Chiropractor. After this experience, he decided he wanted to help people himself by pursuing chiropractic. He is a 1997 graduate of the Life University College of Chiropractic in Marietta, Georgia, and has been in practice for 20+ years. Since then, Dr. Doug has expanded his field of practice to include functional medicine and science-based nutrition. Schedule a visit with Dr. Doug at ProActive Health today!

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