Strains Vs. Sprains And How Chiropractors In Portland Can Help

Strains Vs. Sprains And How
Chiropractors In Portland Can Help

Chiropractic Care for Ankle Pain in Portland WA

Did you know here at NPWG we can help you with sprains and strains? Chiropractors in Oregon can do quite a bit with our scope of practice. I was talking to a friend today about muscle injuries and thus decided to write a blog today about them.

There is always some confusion about the difference between sprains, strains and injuries as a whole and how you actually get them! Traumatic or non-traumatic, lets first break down the difference between a sprain and a strain.

Chiropractic Care for Sprains & Strains in Portland OR:

Sprains are very deep injuries. Picture a skeleton, now imagine a band of tissue connecting each bone to the next one. Every bone in the body is connected by these bands of tissues called ligaments. When you injure a ligament is called a sprain. The most common sprain is usually an ankle sprain, where you roll your foot or land wrong when walking. An example of a more serious sprain is with “whiplash” from a car accident, sports accidents, blunt trauma or falls. It’s usually a very quick motion where muscles either don’t have time to respond to absorb some of the impact, or the impact is too strong and thus the ligaments take the hit. The severity of a sprain is determined by degrees, first degree, second degree or third-degree sprains, where the third-degree sprain refers to a full tear of the ligament.

Strains are muscle tears and they’re typically more superficial injuries compared to sprains. Now imagine that skeleton again with its ligaments, but now let's put some muscles on the bones. Each muscle has two attachment points. Those attachment points to the bones are called tendons. Every muscle in your body has tendons. Strains happen when you injure the tendons or in more severe situations, the belly of the muscle; they happen because the muscle is already contracted and there is more tension being applied, making it stretch more. Like a sprain, there are gradients to determine the severity of a muscle strain. These grades are from 1-3, where 3 indicates a full rupture or tear of the muscle.

There’s a lot more to these injuries, but this is essentially the difference between the two. It is also important to know that you can injure your body without it being a traumatic event, like a fall or car crash. Non-traumatic injuries to muscles and ligaments can happen with everyday wear and tear. Things like prolonged unusual posture (like sleeping wrong) and recurring sprains/strains create instability within the muscle or ligament and can injure these structures too.

Chiropractors will usually perform a physical exam with some testing to see if it's the ligament or the muscle that is injured. These tests are called orthopedic tests and they allow the doctor to separate the difference between the potential sprain or strain. If it's a muscle strain, I usually run diagnostic imaging to determine the severity and what muscles are involved. After the evaluation, we determine if the injury can be healed with time and our help; we have a lot of modalities to facilitate the healing process, or if it requires more help (like a surgery) we refer you to an orthopedist for further evaluation.

I hope this helped you learn a little bit about the difference between a sprain and a strain. If you have had them before, you know the pain involved. Here at North Portland Wellness Group in Portland we are here to help!



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8:00am - 12:00pm
1:30pm - 6:00pm

8:00am - 2:30pm

8:00am - 12:00pm
1:30pm - 6:00pm


North Portland Wellness Group

2205 North Lombard Street #101
Portland, OR 97217
PHONE: (503) 893-4407
FAX: (503) 908-6153