Sprains and strains are injuries that affect the ligaments and muscles. Whether you sprained an ankle or strained a muscle, the aching and swelling will be excruciating.
Furthermore, while these medical conditions sound identical, they refer to two distinct bodily injuries. Continue reading to learn the distinction between the two and how to recover from them.
Sprains and Strains: What's The Difference?
Sprain and strain both refer to tearing or stretching. However, what makes them different is that they occur in distinct parts of the body.
A sprain is an injury that occurs when there's a stretch or a tear in the ligaments. Ligaments are fibrous tissues that take the form of tight bands and link two bones together around the joints. Sprains usually happen among people playing sports or doing similar movements. They could cause a lot of swelling, pain, and bruises.
A strain, on the other hand, is when a tendon or muscle is stretched or torn, or both. Tendons are the fibrous bands that connect muscles to bones. Strains are most commonly caused by an injury, improper lifting of heavy objects, or overstraining muscles.
Any activity pushing you past your physical limits can result in a sprain or strain. Both are frequently caused by overstretching of tissue that results in tissue damage and ripping. Even simple tasks like lifting something may result in an injury, especially if your connective tissues or muscles are stiff or feeble.
What Are The Best Methods To Recover From Sprains And Strains?
Have you recently sprained or strained a part of your body? The good thing is that, with the right care and rest, you can recover quickly and do the things you enjoy once again.
Part of the tips that help in sprain and strain recovery is the rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) method. A detailed explanation is provided for each of these actions. If you follow the steps outlined below, you should start feeling better very soon.
1. Rest The Injured Part Of Your Body
The first 24 to 48 hours following an accident or injury are crucial for treatment. You should rest as much as possible throughout this time. This means you should avoid exerting any pressure on the affected area.
If you sprained your ankle, for example, it shouldn't carry any of your weight. If you don't have crutches or another device to help you walk, you'll need to lean on something. You may also need to use a sling, a brace, or a splint to give the injured area the rest it needs. Consider reputable brands like SAM Medical to ensure the medical device provides adequate support to the affected area, immobilizing sprains and strains.
Furthermore, you don't have to rest all the time. You may resume light activity as soon as you feel ready, but you should take it easy and rest in between.
2. Ice Immediately Following the Accident
Ice packs and other cooling therapies are the most effective treatment for sprains and strains, particularly in the early stages when the swelling is high. It can help reduce edema and increase blood flow to the area. The cold will numb the wounded region and alleviate pain.
To accomplish this, apply a towel-wrapped ice pack to the injury. Place it on the injured area for at least 15 to 20 minutes every three hours during the first few days after the accident.
Moreover, if the aching and swelling are bad, repeat this every half an hour. If you don't have access to ice, you can make use of some rapid cold packs.
3. Wrap The Injured Area In A Compression Wrap
To facilitate quick recovery from sprains and strains, applying compression is essential. Doing so lessens swelling and can make the area more stable. However, while this is appropriate for a sprained ankle, it may not be possible or effective for a back strain.
To do this, wrap an elastic bandage, compression sleeve, or cloth around the affected area. Be sure not to wrap it too tightly, as this can restrict blood flow and lead to further swelling below the area of injury. There should be no aching, tingling, or numbness. Keep it bandaged snugly until the pain and swelling have subsided unless you're applying cold packs.
Remove the bandage if the region beneath the wrap becomes numb or swollen. If the discomfort worsens after being bandaged, it might be better to loosen the bandage.
4. Elevate The Injured Area
Elevation is quite crucial. Putting the injured area up can help keep the swelling down, reducing the pain.
To begin, lie down and use cushions or blankets to elevate the affected area above your heart. This permits more fluid to escape from the area, allowing the swelling to subside faster. Avoid rocking back and forth or shifting your weight if you can since this puts unnecessary stress on your ankle and extra strain on your ligaments.
Once your condition improves, you can give the injured area a gentle massage. Once the discomfort and swelling have subsided, it may be time to start moving. However, note that walking on a sprained ankle before it has fully healed may cause further injury. So, listen to your body and rest until the ankle is fully recovered.
5. Take Medications And Apply Topical Creams
To relieve the discomfort and reduce the inflammation, you may consider taking paracetamol or ibuprofen, which you can buy over the counter. You may also ask your pharmacist about massaging creams and oils for sprains and strains.
6. Take A Relaxing Hot Bath
A warm bath is also believed to provide pain relief and speedy recovery. To maximize the therapeutic effects of a warm bath, you may add a pain-relieving bath bomb.
A soothing pain-relieving bath bomb can help reduce soreness and discomfort. Make sure to look for bath bombs made from natural components that are excellent for your body and skin and have no adverse side effects.
Sprains and strains shouldn't be taken lightly. Therefore, it's advisable to learn what to do to recover quickly. The more closely you adhere to its treatment approach, the faster it'll heal. Also, consider having it examined by a medical professional to ensure that nothing more severe is going on. After that, allow some downtime so your body can heal.