5 Simple Steps to Treat Minor Sprains and Strains
Whether you’re an athlete, avid runner, habitual gym goer or just trying to stay active, it goes without saying that feeling flexible and strong is important to you. In fact, it’s likely why you keep active. You want to enjoy your favorite physical activities. As we get older, minor injuries can be frightening and discouraging as we try to understand what the pain means and how to best treat it.
Sprain vs. Strain
Sprains occur when a ligament is torn; strains happen when a tendon or muscle tissue is torn. Minor sprains and strains can transpire when performing the simplest of tasks around the house, at the gym or on the job—especially if the affected area is not accustomed to the motion. The resulting knee, back, ankle or wrist pain can be intolerable. You’ll likely be unable to perform your usual daily activities until the injury begins to heal.
The RICE and Restore Treatment
Thankfully, there are five simple steps that you can use at home to overcome such an injury. We call it the RICE and Restore method:
- Rest, get plenty of it. It’s important to rest the affected area or joint as this gives it time to heal without aggravating the tear. Endeavor to keep the area immobile, and avoid putting pressure on it. You will likely find the support of a sling helpful as the damaged tissue heals.
- Ice, put it on the affected area. If it all possible, ice the affected area as soon as the injury occurs. Ice will reduce swelling and inflammation. It’s important to continue icing the area during the first 24 hours following the injury. Afterwards, you can rotate between heat and ice to alleviate pain and keep any additional swelling down.
- Compression, use it to reduce pain and swelling. The worst part of any sprain or strain is the accompanying pain and swelling. It can be excruciating. Wrapping an Ace bandage around the injury can help. Be sure to wrap it snuggly, but not so tight that it restricts blood flow.
- Elevation, elevate the injured area. Elevation is another means of keeping unwanted and painful swelling down. Try keeping the injured area elevated for at least the first 24 hours, and continue to elevate as able afterwards.
- Restore and reestablish movement gradually. After a few days, the pain should subside. At this time, you’ll want to gently move the injured area. Your goal is to gradually restore flexibility and strength. Be careful not to overwork the injured area, otherwise you’ll risk further damage.
In most cases, these five steps will remedy a minor sprain or strain within a few days or weeks, depending on severity. Anti-inflammatory medication can help reduce pain and swelling.
Chiropractic treatments have also proven effective in reducing pain and increasing mobility. We provide a complimentary foot, ankle and knee pain consultation if you’re concerned about whether you have a sprain or strain and how serious it is. You can receive peace of mind by taking advantage of this offer.
It’s important to treat minor sprains and strains with care. By carefully administering proper care and conditioning, you’ll be back to your active lifestyle in no time.