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Is it a Strain or a Sprain?

By Rebecca Waldron

Ouch! You’ve injured your knee, back or ankle, but you don’t know if it’s a sprain or a strain. There are distinct differences between them that you should know about. That way, if you have an accident, you can understand what your chiropractor is referring to when he says, "It's a strain." I have sprained and strained my knee, ankle and back many times, and with chiropractic help I was able to feel better. 


The Mayo Clinic says a sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments -- the tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together in your joints. The two most usual places to get a sprain are the knees or ankles. The pain can be excruciating, so it is well worth a trip to your chiropractor for an adjustment.


A strain is a stretching or tearing of muscle or tendon. It means to stretch or pull a tendon to its extreme.  A tendon is a fibrous cord of tissue that connects muscles to bones. Strains often occur in the lower back and the hamstring muscle in the back of the thigh. Strains hurt incredibly and can put you down for days, which to be honest is a good thing. You need to rest and recuperate. Besides, a little TLC from your loved ones is an added bonus.


Initial treatment of both sprains and strains includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Mild sprains and strains can be treated with your chiropractor’s help. At home, you can put a bunch of pillows under your leg, ankle or behind your back and rest. You can take some over-the-counter pain relievers to help with the pain. Make sure to drink plenty of water to hydrate your joints and tendons to keep them working together. Without enough water, your tendons and ligaments won’t move as smoothly or fluidly as they could. Water is vital to the healing process. Strangely enough, eating Jell-O can help keep the cartilage healthier in and around your bones. Jell-O is made from cartilage and when you eat it, it enriches your cartilage. That’s something you don’t hear every day!

See Your Chiropractor

If you have either a sprain or strain, it still requires a chiropractor’s attention to make sure that it isn’t so severe that further medical treatment, such as surgery, is needed. You shouldn’t wait to go to the chiropractor. A small strain in the lower back can lead to slipped discs, which are extremely painful. Make sure and take care of your body. It’s the only one you’ll ever get. See your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic to get started on your path to feeling better right away. 

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Peoria, Ariz.


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