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Is It a Strain or Sprain? How to Know the Difference and Provide Proper Joint Care

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Is It a Strain or Sprain? How to Know the Difference and Provide Proper Joint CareGood overall health requires at least 20–30 minutes of exercise each day, even if it is just some light walking. The benefits of exercise are numerous and include weight management, mood support, and circulatory health, to name a few. But in order to be physically active, your body requires strong joints, ligaments, and muscles. When joint injuries occur, the proper treatment is crucial so that you can continue to support your active lifestyle.

Sprains and Strains

We all are familiar with the terms, sprains and strains, when it comes to your joints and muscles, but do you know the differences between them and how to properly care for each condition? A sprain is when you injure or damage the ligaments which connect bones to other bones. Strains happen when you injure a muscle or tendon, the fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone.

RICE

Although there are differences between sprains and strains, the pattern of recovery for both is the same: RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). Rest means keeping weight off the injured area for at least a day or two. Depending on the seriousness of the injury you may require more rest. Ice is important in the first 24 hours to relieve swelling and discomfort. Apply ice for 20–30 minutes and then remove it for 20–30 minutes before reapplying again if needed. It is often advised not to apply heat in the first 24 hours as it may worsen the swelling. Compression is also used to combat swelling. Wrapping the injured part in compression bandages can relieve swelling within the first 24 hours. Elevation means keeping the injured area elevated higher than your heart as gravity can help reduce swelling and pressure. If swelling persists for a lengthy period of time, consult your physician.

Proper Joint Nourishment

Your joints and muscles are constantly in motion, from when you wake up and your feet touch the floor, to daily activities and right up until you go to bed at night. When choosing a product to help soothe and nourish your joints there are certain ingredients that can be beneficial. Collagen (a building block of cartilage, ligaments, and tendons), vitamin C (which helps form collagen), and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane, a dietary sulfur that also helps form collagen) can be crucial in joint support products. There are also topical creams available containing antioxidant-rich grape seed oil and aloe vera, both of which can provide soothing and cooling relief to your joints that you can apply directly over sore areas, enabling you to comfort your joints from the outside. Physical activity is a fundamental part of achieving a good quality of life. Knowing how to properly support joints and protect yourself from injury with proper healing techniques is just as important as it allows you to continue to reap all the healthy benefits of daily physical activity and an improved quality of life.


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