Many people use the words strain and sprain interchangeably. It’s not hard to see why. They are similar conditions, but they’re not the same, so if you hurt yourself, how can you tell which one you’re suffering from? The guidelines below will help you sort it out!

Strains are injuries to your muscles and/or tendons. They’re most commonly caused by simple overexertion, and are characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Muscle spasms or weakness
  • Inflammation
  • And Cramping

As painful as they are, most strains are fairly mild, and with proper care, you’ll be back on your feet in no time. In a few particularly serious cases, though, a strain can cause a tendon to tear or be completely ripped apart, which is debilitating and much more serious. You’ll be able to tell the difference because you can still use the limb in question if you’re suffering from a mild strain. It’ll make you wince, but you can do it. If you’ve torn a tendon, though, that limb is out going to be out of commission for a while. The pain of trying to use it will simply be unbearable.

Sprains, on the other hand, have everything to do with your ligaments, which are the connective tissue between the bones in your body. You’ve got 360 joints, and if you suffer from a sprain, it’s going to be centered on one of these.

The symptoms of a sprain are:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • And Bruising

When you suffer a sprain, you’ll usually (but not always) feel or hear a distinct popping sound.

In both cases, the recommended course of treatment is the same. RICE, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

Here’s where a lot of people go astray, because most folks are inclined to apply heat to strains and sprains. While that might feel good in the short term, it’s the completely wrong approach to take. Stick to RICE, and you’ll be back on your feet before you know it.

Of course, if you fear that you’ve suffered from a serious strain or sprain, forget self-treatment and see your doctor immediately!

Used with permission from Article Aggregator