Sprains & Strains
Most active children and adults have experienced a strain or a sprain at least once in their lives. Many people don’t know the difference between the two injuries, however, since they share many of the same symptoms: pain, swelling, and bruising. Here are the exact definitions: A sprain is when a ligament, the tissue that connects bones together at joints, becomes stretched or torn; a strain is when either a muscle or a tendon that attach a muscle to the bone becomes twisted or pulled.
Here are the steps you should take if you experience a sprain or strain:
- As soon as you experience the sharp pain of a strain or a sprain, rest the affected limb. If the injury involves your leg, try not to put any weight on it. Next, apply an ice pack to the affected joint or muscle and elevate the limb. The ice pack will numb the pain and reduce swelling.
- Keep the limb chilled and elevated for about 20 minutes, then compress and immobilize the muscle or joint, using an elastic bandage. Be careful not to wrap the bandage so tightly that you cut off blood supply. You may even lay steamed comfrey leaves on the joint or muscle, and then wrap it up in the bandage. Or you can boil comfrey root for 30 minutes to an hour, cool the tea, and then soak the bandage in the water before wrapping. Comfrey has natural antiinflammatory properties, so it reduces pain and swelling and helps accelerate healing.
- As your sprain or strain heals, sitting in warm baths with Epsom salts or massaging the affected area may make you feel better. To support and accelerate your body’s natural healing process, add extra amounts of vitamin C, bromelain, and omega3 fatty acids to your nutritional supplement regimen. Additionally, according to herbalists, drinking comfrey root and spring horsetail tea helps your body heal faster.
- Use the Homeopathic Traumeel topically to alleviate pain.
See the Inflammation entry for a list of herbs and extracts that help reduce swelling and inflammation.