What is a sprain?
A sprain typically occurs because the tissue has been overstretched too quickly, resulting in micro-tearing of the tissue. This results in painful inflammation typically increased with movement and use of the damaged tissue.
The damage from a sprain can be minor or major, depending on the severity of the injury, a person’s health, and age. As we age, our tissue becomes less elastic and becomes more prone to tearing.
It can be quite easy to sprain your back. There are hundreds of small muscles in the spine, which guide the intricate movements of each bone and multi-level joint. This delicate ballet of movement can get into trouble when heavy lifting is involved.
The majority of people sprain their back when they combine lifting with twisting. The best way to avoid an injury to the low back is to use your legs when lifting, bending at the knees and keeping your back fairly straight. If you have to turn while lifting, move your feet, otherwise the strain of lifting while twisting can cause injury.
Tearing of the tissues occurs during a sprain. While this is often not a full complete tear, the resulting damage can cause significant swelling and pain to occur deep in the back. Typical healing times can take at least 6-12 weeks for complete healing.
Hand, Wrist, Elbow Sprain
Sprains and strains are very common in the hand, wrist and elbow. Swelling begins as part of the inflammation process, causing pain and difficulty with movement.
The first step in treating sprains or strains in the wrist, elbow, hand or fingers is to rest, ice and elevate it. With severe limitations in movement you should see your occupational therapist right away. There are different levels of sprain or strain from mild to severe. In some cases, the tearing can be complete and even need surgical repair.
Ankle sprains are very common injuries and typically occur from improper footwear, uneven terrain, or weakness. Most often, sprains occur from sports or trips over objects that were unseen. Sprains refer to injuries of the ligaments (connect bone to bone) and strains refer to injuries of the muscles or tendons (connect muscle to bone). Common sprains in the ankle occur on the outside of the ankle where 3 main ligaments attach. There are different levels of sprains or strains from mild to severe. With severe limitations in movement, you should see your physical therapist right away. In some cases, the tearing can be complete and even be in need of surgical repair.
Other parts of the body that are prone to sprains including the shoulders, hips, and knees.
How occupational and/or physical therapy helps
Occupational and/or physical therapy is a very important part of the recovery from a sprain/strain. First, the focus is on reducing pain and inflammation while maintaining or regaining range of motion. After the inflammatory phase is coming to an end the focus shifts to attaining full range of motion then gradual strengthening of the injured areas to regain normal strength. Towards the end of treatment, the focus is shifted to the coordination of the muscles surrounding the joint and education towards preventing future injury. If you have suffered a sprain or strain, Click here to request a consultation to start feeling relief and getting back to normal activities.