Most of us experience a sprain or a strain at some point in our lives, very few know the difference between the two. A strain, a pulled muscle, occurs when a muscle is over stressed by too much weight or overuse. The injured muscle fibers may go into spasm, form knots, or swell up, if you have a strained muscle, you may feel a sharp pain when you try to use it, or you may experience a dull throb in the affected area. Sprains is a ligament injury. Ligament is a band of fibrous connective tissue that holds bones together at the joints. When a ligament is over stressed, it may tear or stretch out of its normal position. You may even hear a snapping or popping sound at the time of injury. Not surprisingly, sprains cause immediate, acute pain. Once the first shock of pain passes, it is replaced by swelling and extreme soreness and sensitivity. Try natural remedies for muscle strain and sprain to cure muscle spasm and injured ligament.
Warning! Most strains and sprains respond well to rest and home care, but you should be alert for signs that your Injury needs a doctor`s attention. If the pain is unbearable and if can’t move the joint, you may have a broken or fractured bone. Instead of going to bed visit a doctor or the emergency room. Other red flags are discolored joints and severe Swelling that doesn’t go down after few days.
Symptoms of muscle strain
- Acute pain when the muscle is in use
- A dull throb at other times
- Muscle spasm or knots
Symptoms of ligament sprain
- Severe pain at the time of injury, subsiding into soreness
- Joint discoloration (indicative of a serious sprain)
Natural remedies for muscle strains and sprains
When you suspect that you have experienced a strain or a sprain, it helps to take quick action. The following simple techniques, if used immediately after the injury, will promote faster healing and can greatly reduce the amount and the duration of pain.
“Caution: If you experience severe pain, significant swelling, discoloration at the site, get to a doctor as soon as possible. Be especially careful with injuries to the wrist or the ankle; these body parts are relatively delicate and vulnerable to fractures.”
Apply ice to reduce swelling
To reduce swelling and pain, apply an ice pack or a cold compress to the injured area. Place some ice cubes in a plastic bag and then wrap the package up in a clean towel. You can even use a box of frozen vegetables. Also be sure that the ice doesn’t touch your skin directly; otherwise, you’ll have an injury and a frostbite. Keep the cold pack on for twenty minutes, then take a ten minute break before reapplying.
Keep the injured area elevated, to reduce swelling
To the extent possible, elevate the injured area so that it’s higher than your heart. This allows blood to flow away from the site and decreases swelling.
Soak injured part in warm water
Once the swelling has gone down, you can soak the injured part in warm water to relieve pain.
Continue elevation and cold applications for the next day or two, and then alternate cold and warm applications. You no longer need to apply cold as often as in the first hour and a half after the injury. Simply apply it intermittently as needed, if the swelling has not gone down significantly after this time, see a doctor.
Lettuce for sprains
That Caesar salad you’re eating may be more than a tasty lunch. Lettuce’s anti-inflammatory effects make it a good topical remedy for simple sprains and strains, you might want to nibble a few leaves, too. Lettuce is rich in lactucin, a calming alkaloid and it has sedative properties. Chop up a few cold lettuce leaves, apply to the sprained area, and wrap loosely in an elastic bandage. Change the poultice when it grows hot.
Clove oil for muscle strains
Applying clove oil over the affected muscles will also relieve the pain and help in speedy recovery. Make the clove oil hot and then allow it to cool down for some time and then apply it over the paining muscles.
Garlic oil for muscle strains
Sesame oil for muscle strain
Comfrey oil for muscle strain
Massaging the affected area with comfrey oil or cream can help in alleviating the pain.
Thyme oil compress for muscle strain
Five drops of thyme oil diluted either in bathwater or some other oil can be used as a compress to get rid of swelling.
Arnica balm compress
Arnica balm or ointment can be used as cream or a compress for the affected area.
Horse chestnut for muscle injuries
Horse chestnut is also very useful for such injuries. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties and presence of a compound called aescin it becomes beneficial for all kinds of injuries. You can spread this gel on the affected area every two hours till the pain subsides.
Treatment with diet
You might not think of diet as an important part of healing an injury, but good nutritional choices in weeks following a sprain or a strain can speed your recovery and reduce your pain.
Increase your intake of lean protein
You need lean protein to rebuild strong elastic muscles and ligaments. Eat reasonable amounts of chicken, turkey and fish and incorporate beans into your meals.
Combat free radical with antioxidants
An injury can result in the formation of free radicals, the unbalanced molecules that are thought to be responsible for many diseases. Combat free radicals with the antioxidants found in deeply colored fruits and vegetables.
Take vitamin C
Vitamin C will help to reduce swelling and repair tissues, eat citrus fruits as a light dessert.
Avoid putting weight on an injured joint or muscle, but do keep it mobile. After the swelling is down and any acute pain has passed, try to work the body part through its range of motion, this will help prevent stiffness.
Use aromatherapy to cure sprains and strains
After the swelling has subsided, try a combination of eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender oils to stimulate a nourishing flow of blood to the injured area and reduce pain. You can use these oils in a warm bath or a compress.
Reduce stress and speed up recovery
Usually for an active person, it can be terribly frustrating to spend days or even weeks laid up with an injury. Try some chamomile tea to calm your nerves.
Bach flower tincture to reduce stress
Place few drops of the liquid under your tongue. Hold the drops in place for thirty seconds and swallow. Use as as needed to calming the body and the mind and allows healing to begin. Gentian will help if you are easily depressed when faced with a setback.
Homeopathy remedies to cure strains and sprains
Pick the remedy that best matches your symptoms in this section. For acute strains/sprains take a 30 C potency four times daily. For chronic sprains/strains that have not healed, take a 6x. 12x. 6c. 12c. or 30c twice daily, for two weeks, to see if there are any positive results. After you notice improvement, stop taking the remedy. unless symptoms return.
“Consultation with a homeopathic practitioner is advised”
Is helpful at the beginning of an injury, when there is bruising and swelling.
Should be used when there is pain from any movement. The person feels irritable from the pain.
Is indicated for chronic sprains and strains that do not heal, or for people who are susceptible to getting these types of injuries due to weak ligaments or tendons.
Is for sprained ankles or knees that are swollen and that Feel better with ice applications.
Should be used for injuries that cause stiffness, especially during the first movement, but that loosen up later in the day. The injury feels better from warm applications.
Ruta (Ruta graveolens)
Is for over used ligaments and sprains that result in swelling and a lame feeling in the joint.
RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
This treatment applies to acute injuries involving tendons and ligaments such as ankle sprains. This method also works for injuries to arms and legs.
A clean cloth
An ice pack (a commercial ice pack, bag of frozen peas, or plastic bag of crushed ice all work)
An elastic wrap (optional)
PREPARATION AND USE:
Wet a clean cloth under the tap and wring it out. Wrap the cloth around the ice pack and apply it to the injured area. Slide pillows under your arm or leg—enough so that, when you recline the injured area is above the level of your heart. After 10 minutes remove the ice pack. Wait 10 minutes. Ice for another 10 minutes and Remove.
If you’ve injured an ankle, knee or wrist, stabilize that joint with an elastic wrap. Start below the joint and wind upward until you’re a couple finger widths above that jomt. The goal is to provide support without impeding circulation. The bandage should be loose enough that you can insert your index finger under the wrap.
In 2 hours, repeat the process. Continue the regimen for three days.
How it works: Rest allows you to heal. Cold reduces swelling, pain, and inflammation. Elevation encourages fluids that have leaked into the tissues to return to the circulation. Compression stabilizes the ligaments so that, as you move about, you don further stretch them. It also eases pain. A 2006‘ study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that the Interval method of icing—10 minutes on, 10 minutes off, and 10 minutes on—led to greater improvements in people with ankle sprains than icing for 20 consecutive minutes.
Preventive measures to avoid strains and sprains
Although sprains and strains are quite common you can reduce your chances of injuring a muscle or a ligament
- Exercise on a regular basis. People who don`t use their muscles and bones regularly are far more prone to damaging them.
- Always warm up your muscles before engaging in an activity. Stretch gently and ease into the movement.
- Don‘t lift objects that are heavy