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The joints and bones of the body are connected by fibrous band of tissue called as a ligament. When these ligaments are over stretched or are subjected to any injury that could cause tearing of the ligament and a sprain of the ligament happens. Sprains usually occur at the ankle joint, knee joint or the shoulder, since these areas have a connection of bones at a joint.
During movement, the ligament functions to stretch or expand and move back to its original position. However, sometimes due to an over-stretch of the ligament, it gets pushed or expands beyond its usual position. A sudden twisting movement of the ligament can also cause a sprain.
While walking, any abnormal movement of the leg can cause a sprain, hence, the ankle joint is the most common location affected by a sprain. Sports injuries are a common causative factor of sprains. In accordance to the body part involved frequently in playing sports, a wrist sprain or an ankle sprain is a common finding.
Dancers are also prone to frequently sprain their ligaments. If a sprain occurs at the wrist joint, it can also lead to cause the Carpal tunnel syndrome, which leads to the numbness of the wrist joint. Moderate to severe pain around the affected joint, presence of bruising in cases of an injury, swelling around the affected joint and difficulty in movement are the common symptoms of a sprain.
There can be a popping sound heard during an injury to the joint, which indicates a sprain. Sprain of the joint can cause other complications too. If there is an involvement of the nerve in the injury, there can be an associated numbness and tingling sensation at the affected area. A physician performs physical inspection of the area while looking for the symptoms of sprain. If the injury involves a larger surface area and is causing severe pain, an MRI or X-ray can be ordered to detect for the ligament or bone involvement, respectively.
Classification of sprain can be enlisted as follows:
- Grade 1 sprain (mild): Slight stretching and little damage to the fibers of the ligament.
- Grade 2 sprain (moderate): Includes partial tearing of the ligament.
- Grade 3 sprain (severe): Includes complete tearing of the ligament. Prevention of a sprain can be achieved with certain measures. Specific exercises that can be targeted for sprain prevention can be learnt from the physical therapist.
Stretching exercises and muscle training are important in prevention of a sprain. Sprain preventing measures are as follows:
1. Before beginning an exercise routine, it is essential to do warm up exercises. Slight jogging can be done to activate muscle movement.
2. Stretching before and after an exercise routine is necessary. It ensures that the muscles around the joint are in a relaxed position. It helps in minimizing the risk of an injury.
3. Some specific exercises that help to strengthen the muscles around ankles should be done. Heel raise exercise is beneficial in strengthening the ankle muscles.
4. Exercises that target the improvement of overall body’s balance should be done on a regular basis. These exercises help in preventing twisting of ankles during walking or moving down the stairs.
5. In case of a previous ankle injury, it is recommended to wear an ankle brace to prevent any twisting caused by a dis-balance.
Treatment of the sprain is done by following the RICE procedure. This procedure includes the protocol of rest, ice, compression and elevation. Analgesics can be taken for pain relief. Ice pack application helps in reducing the swelling. Using a compression bandage helps in immobilizing the injury.
Ergonomics to prevent body pain With a constant increase in the use of computers, desk jobs are becoming more and more common in the current job trends. Individuals are confined to their cubicles and it becomes customary to spend 8 to 10 hours daily on an average seated on the chair.
This trend of desk jobs has rendered the routine human lifestyle to become sedentary and thus, a rise in health issues has been observed. Right from metabolic diseases to posture related problems, various diseases and disorders are affecting the world population. Body pain is one of the most common problems that people suffer from.
Although pain can be very discomforting and can be considered as a negative symptom, it is a kind of a signal body gives us at the start of any health issue.
Etiological factors like lack of an active lifestyle, tedious working hours, improper posture, and lack of adequate rest are triggers for body pain. The symptom of body ache is no longer associated only with the older age group, since the working community belongs to a middle aged group. Young people tend to suffer from chronic back pain since their work routine involves long hours of sitting at a single place, without many breaks. Also, people undergoing strenuous work hours become a target for chronic body pain.
To overcome this health problem, certain simple measures can be undertaken for prevention. The term ergonomics suggests the interaction of the environment with the occupation of the person. Management and adaptability to the environment with respect to the health concerns of the working professionals is looked after in ergonomics which ensures an enhancement in the quality of life for the workforce in a working environment.
The goals of ergonomics can be enlisted as follows –
1. Work related illness should be prevented
2. Workplace productivity should be increased
3. Quality of work should be improved
4. Work environment should not be detrimental to the physical as well as mental health of the working professionals.
Work ergonomics that are beneficial for people employed at a desk job are as follows:
1. The desktop should be placed at the distance of an arm’s length. Eye level of the operator should be at the apex level of the desktop’s screen.
2. Arms should be allowed to move freely and be able to rest on the arm rest of the chair.
3. Shrugging of the shoulders should be avoided.
4. Back rest of the chair should be used for support. The back rest of the chair should be present up to the shoulder and should be designed in a way that it is angled at a right angle to the sitting surface.
5. A convexity should be present in the lower back area of the chair for better support while sitting.
6. The chair height should be adjusted in a way that the knees form a right angle. Feet should touch the floor and not dangle in the air.
7. During typing or while using the computer’s mouse, wrist should be kept at a neutral position.
8. Back posture should be checked every hour and corrected if faulty.
9. A small break of 5-10 minutes should be taken at an interval of 2-3 hours to change position. Walking around and stretching the body helps relax the muscles.
10. When a laptop is in use, it should be placed on a stand in a way that the screen is placed in front of the operator’s eyes. To determine whether a person’s posture is correct or not, a physical therapist can be consulted. Maintaining a correct posture is very important to avoid suffering from a back ache.
People who suffer from conditions affecting the spine should seek expert opinion for maintaining their posture and avoiding spine related complications. The postural muscles play an important role in maintaining the body’s posture for long hours. Exercises that are targeting to enhance the strength of these muscles can help to build up adequate muscle strength.
If you are suffering from back pain, you should know that the tiniest of movements can trigger the same. Back pain may occur due to several factors or reasons and it hampers your daily activities and standards of life to a great extent. However, you need to become active instead of being immobile for relieving back pain. If any movement increases your pain, you must avoid doing it.
There are several exercises which help in strengthening your back muscles and performing these on a regular basis will provide you relief from back pain drastically. Here are 7 common exercises which you should carry out:
1. Pelvic tilt: You have to lie on your back and keep your knees bend, but touching. Your feet should stay flat on the floor. By flattening your lower back against the wall and tilting your pelvis downwards, you must maintain the position for 20 to 40 seconds. Meanwhile, you must breathe slowly and deeply and then release. This stretch requires small movements for reducing tension, thereby easing your back pain.
2. Lumbar stretch: You need to sit on a chair, roll your head, chest, neck and lower back forward till your head gets between the knees. Hold the position and take deep breaths. Slowly, get back to the sitting position. Repeat this twice.
3. Cat position: You have to kneel on your fours and keep the knees and hip width separate. Keep the stomach muscles tense, arch your back like a cat does and maintain the position for five seconds. Repeat this and then allow your stomach to drop towards the floor direction and hold it for five seconds again.
4. Curl ups: For this exercise, you should lie on your back with the knees bent and your feet kept flat on the floor. Placing your hands behind the head will make the stomach muscles tense. Then, lift your shoulders, head and upper back from the floor. Do this around 10 times. This is ideal for strengthening your back.
5. Dry swimming: Begin by lying on your stomach, keeping a rolled-up towel under your belly for support. By tightening your buttocks, raise one arm and the opposite leg simultaneously. Switch your arms and legs and perform this for about two minutes.
6. Leg lift: For leg lifts, you should lie on your back with the knees kept bend and the feet kept flat on the floor. You have to press your lower back to the floor and straighten a leg with the knees aligned. After bending your leg, return to the starting position and repeat the exercise on the other side.
7. Cobra stretch: The cobra stretch is another ideal movement for stretching your tight abdominal muscles and lower back. You need to lie on your stomach with your legs extended and your palms planted on the sides of your head.