Sprain or Strain
Do you have a sprain or strain in Chatham or Pompton Lakes? Have you ever thought about the complex structure throughout your body that allows you to move while still somehow managing to keep our joints and bones in position? As complex as this process is, it is controlled by three primary structures; muscles, ligaments, and your nervous system. While each one of these structures wouldn't be able to function without the other, they each serve their own purpose.
Do you have a sprain or strain?
Throughout this short article, Active Care will provide you with some general information about this system and some of the potential injuries that can occur if it is not functioning properly.
The Difference Between Muscles and Ligaments
While most people know how important proper muscle function is, few people have stopped to think about everything that they control. Whether you are walking to get the mail, talking to a friend, digesting a meal, or pumping blood throughout your body, muscles are the primary work horse behind these actions. Without muscles you wouldn't be able to accomplish these things, and unfortunately wouldn't be alive reading this article. With how important muscles are to people, it should be no surprise that they have a very complex design. Muscles are built in a way that allows them to transform energy into motion, grow with added stress, and heal if not damaged beyond self-repair. Needless to say, keeping your muscles healthy and functioning properly is essential to life, and your nervous system plays the most important role in this process.
In contrast to muscles who are all about motion, ligaments serve the primary purpose of maintaining stability and support. Ligaments are the piece of the puzzle that are responsible for keeping bones in their proper position, including your spine. Without strong and healthy ligaments, it would be impossible to form joints, and the motion created by your muscles would serve no purpose. To create this stability, a ligament crosses a joint and attaches at each end. While one ligament maybe enough to create support in smaller joints, often multiple ligaments work together in areas such as the knee or ankle. When functioning properly, with the correct signals from your nervous system, ligaments are built to withstand tremendous forces. In fact, many of the ligaments in your body are much stronger than bone.
What is a Sprain or Strain?
Everyone has probably heard of a strain or sprain and the two terms are usually grouped together. However, they each actually refer to a different type of injury, and occur by different mechanisms. Knowing the difference between the two and how to detect them plays a very important role in preventing these injuries from happening, and deciding which treatment avenue is best. While this article will provide you with some general information, the best way to determine which type of injury may have occurred is to consult with a trained health care professional. Our doctors at Active Care can assist you with this process.
A strain is a term that is used to specifically describe an injury to a muscle or its attached tendon. Muscular strains occur when a muscle is worked beyond its limits. This can mean that the muscle was stretched too far or contracted too hard. Overworking a muscle that has not been properly trained can lead to this type of injury. If the muscle has not had time to properly grow and the nervous system has not had time to develop the correct muscle patterns, these structures are not able to handle excessive stress. People who are suffering from a muscular strain typically will notice swelling, cramping, and pain primarily during motion.
When you hear the word sprain, ligaments are the primary culprit. While all ligaments can stretch to some degree, ligamentous sprains occur when a ligament is stretched beyond its means. Typically, if the nervous system is not functioning properly resulting in improper control of a joint, the bones of a joint separate too far causing damage to the ligaments. The most common ligamentous sprains occur in the cervical and lumbar spine, knee, ankle, and wrist. These joints tend to be more susceptible because they allow more motion than other areas of the body. People who have developed a ligamentous sprain typically experience many of the symptoms of a muscular strain, but will primarily experience the pain over the damaged joint.
The most important thing to do if you believe you are suffering from a strain or sprain is to receive a proper evaluation by a trained health care professional. Our team at Active Care will conduct a complete history and examination as well as x-rays if indicated to reach a proper diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is made, our clinic will provide and direct you to the proper treatment avenues. Only through correct diagnosis and care will the injury heal properly.
Unlike other health care professionals, our staff will evaluate your nervous system to ensure that it is able to properly control these tissues and joints. With proper healing, nervous system function, and instruction, the odds of the injury are greatly reduced. If you believe you are suffering from one of these injuries or would like to learn more information, contact Active Care in Chatham or Pompton Lakes to schedule a consultation.