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What's The Difference Between A Strain And Sprain?

Dr. Akhlaq Ahmed 85% (33 ratings)
Diploma In Orthopaedics, MBBS
Orthopedist, Gurgaon  •  48 years experience
What's The Difference Between A Strain And Sprain?

What is a strain?
A strain is a muscular injury caused due to poor posture or any physical activity that exerts a lot of pressure on the muscle. It is nothing, but a torn muscle or tissue connected to a bone. A strain can occur in any muscle of the body, but it most commonly occurs in the lower back, neck, shoulder, and hamstring, which is the muscle behind your thigh.

What is pain?
A pain is an extreme sensation of discomfort or distress that might be caused due to external stimulus. In a nutshell, it’s an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience.

One can differentiate between a pain and a strain through the following ways

  1. Symptoms: One of the major symptoms of a strain is acute pain. Simultaneously, the torn muscle will be sore; it will be discoloured and swollen. Movement will be limited in that part of the body and the patient will get a ‘knotted-up’ feeling because muscular injury weakens or stiffens the muscle. Another major symptom of strain includes muscular spasm. Pain on the other hand is a state of physical and sensory discomfort caused due to an external stimulus. The affected area will not have the aforementioned symptoms and is not limited to muscular injury.
  2. Length of time: One of the key ways to differentiate between a muscle strain and pain is the amount of time the symptoms persist. Normal pain lingers for about three days and is reduced with medication. In case of muscular strain, the pain lasts longer because the injury is internal. The muscles are sore and stiff and remain weak until treated.
  3. Type of distress: The feeling of pain usually persists irrespective of the fact that the patient is at rest or is not moving; while in a muscular strain, the patient is not distressed at rest but experiences major discomfort when trying to use or move the affected part of the body.

The sensation of pain usually worsens with activity. On the other hand a muscular strain is treated with muscular exercises such as stretching. If the patient doesn’t use the affected muscle for a long period of time, it tends to worsen.

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