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What is a Sprain

by Wendy Hager

posted in Health and Fitness : Physical Therapy

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What is a sprain and why do so many people suffer from one and not even realize it? If you have ever wondered along these lines, you are not alone. It is interesting to note that physicians are wondering about the portion that has perfectly reasonable people ignore the pain they are suffering and instead of seeking out a physician they instead opt for treating what is a sprain but what they believe to be little more than a pulled muscle. Perhaps this goes back to the last time they sought out a physician who disagreed with their assessment and rather than treating a sprain, simply suggested some over the counter pain killers.

Now that they are really suffering from the pain of a sprain, they do no longer trust themselves to adequately recognize what is a sprain, and rather than once again pay a lot of money for an office visit, they opt for self medication. Physicians agree that in some cases the lines are rather blurry, but even so the notion of failing to seek out medical advice when suddenly there is a joint in pain, still surprises them more than they would like to let on.

This of course begs the question, how do you know what is a sprain? How do you know what is a sprain that requires medical attention? Generally speaking, sprains are extremely common injuries that happen frequently over the course of a lifetime. Some sprains are minor, but others may be so severe that they require medical intervention. As a general rule of thumb, in an effort to discover what is a sprain and when does it require medical intervention, listen to your body. If the joint hurts so badly that use of the limb is greatly curtailed, it is time to visit the doctor.

Conversely, if the pain is bearable, but an ice pack and some over the counter pain killer can actually cause the swelling to subside quickly, and using the limb with great care is still possible, then a doctor’s visit may be put off to the next day. If the sprain continues to improve and there appear to be no further swelling, discoloration of the skin, or any other signs that the limb is in distress, it might just be possible to forego the doctor’s visit altogether. At this point it is obvious what is a sprain that does not require medical intervention; all others should be brought to a physician’s attention as soon as possible.

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