Understanding Sprains and Strains

by Dr. David Williams
Filed Under: Sprains and Strains, Bone & Joint Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

One affects ligaments and the other muscle, but pain from both can be treated naturally

Many people don't know the difference between and a sprain and a strain.

A sprain refers to a ligament. A ligament is a fibrous band that generally attaches bone to bone or muscle to bone. It’s helpful to remember that a sprain will generally occur where there are joints, such as the ankles, wrists, knees, shoulders, or even the spine. Sprains generally take a good amount of time to completely heal because ligaments don’t have their own blood supply. Also, ligaments aren’t as elastic and forgiving as muscle fibers. Even when the pain of a sprain goes away, the injured joint remains unstable due to the overstretching of the ligaments around it.

A strain refers to muscle. If you've strained something, you’ve probably irritated a muscle or muscle group in that general area. So strains occur where you have muscle or "soft tissue," such as either side of the spine, the thigh or calf muscles, the abdomen, and so forth.

The best way to prevent sprains and strains is through a good stretching and a good warm-up routine. But if it’s too late for that, you’ll be happy to know there are natural therapies to ease the pain and speed healing.

More Dr. Williams Advice on Sprains and Strains

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