Sprains and strains
Strains are minor injuries to the muscles. They occur most often in the
calf, thigh, groin, or shoulder, causing soreness and stiffness. Sprains are
similar to strains, but are more serious and painful, and take longer to
heal. They can entail damage to ligaments, tendons, or muscles-usually
those surrounding a joint.
Strains and sprains result from physical stress to the muscles and other
tissues. Lifting a heavy object, over swinging a nine
iron, or overstretching
before a workout can lead to a strain. Sprains are the result of a sudden
force to a muscle, tendon, or ligament. Any unexpected movement, such
as a fall or a twisting motion, can yank and tear these structures.
Supplements and herbs
Along with self-care measures, supplements-taken internally or applied
externally-promote tissue repair, strengthen injured areas, and reduce
inflammation. They can be very effective for sprains or strains, and most
need only be used for a week or so, or until the injury begins to feel better.
Various oral supplements can speed the healing process; they can all
be taken in combination and with conventional painkillers. Try
in high doses for five days; it helps the body use protein and repair
tissue. The antioxidants vitamin C and
flavonoids aid in healing and in
limiting further injury to connective tissues and muscles. A builder of
cartilage (the "shock absorber" of the body),
glucosamine serves to
strengthen and protect the joints and ligaments.
Bromelain, an enzyme
derived from the pineapple plant, may prevent swelling and reduce
inflammation, thereby relieving pain; it also promotes
and speeds recovery, but just how much of this is absorbed orally is
controversial. Although most people don't need
supplements on a regular basis, those with sprains or strains may benefit from
a one-week course of this mineral, which plays a role in keeping
tendons and ligaments healthy.
Topical therapies may also work. Apply creams or ointments containing the
plant extract arnica to sore muscles or joints to reduce pain and swelling and
encourage healing. Compresses soaked in a mixture of either
sweet marjoram oil
or rosemary oil and water can produce a soothing, pain-relieving effect and are
useful in decreasing swelling.
In acute sprains a remedy can be taken in the 6, 12 or 30th
frequently as the severity of the condition demands. This may from hourly
to two or three times daily, reducing the dosage with improvement.
Sprains and injuries, overstretching of any joint; back, extremities, etc.
Muscle pull, overexertion, dislocation. Intense soreness, swelling, bruising.
Continued after-effects of sprain; restless, exhausted, weak,
Worse: motion, touch, jarring, damp, cold. Better: cold compress.
Soreness; bruised, aching feeling. Swelling and bruising remains after
injury. Coldness of injured area. Muscular aching, overstrain,
Repetitive strains or sprains, staying long in one position, joint surgery.
Worse: touch, chilling, hot bath or bed. Better: gentle motion, rubbing.
Acute sprains; inflamed, hot, red swollen joint. Stitching, tearing pains.
Sensitive to any motion, must lie still. Irritable, dislikes being disturbed.
Worse: slightest motion, jarring, touch, morning, cold bathing, hot room.
Better: immobility, local heat, pressure or tight bandaging, rest and quiet.
- Calc fluor
Chronic, recurrent, easy sprain or dislocation. Burning, grinding
Adhesions, nodules and fragments in joint. Weak, stretched ligaments.
Weak, clumsy joints: Stiffness, restless. Tendency to arthritis. Worse:
first motion, cold, damp, Better: warm compress, rubbing, limbering up.
- Rhus tox
Acute or chronic sprains of ligaments, tendon. Effects of
overstretching, overexertion, chilling, exposure to damp. Tearing, burning pain.
Extreme restlessness, stiffness during rest. Weak, trembling after exertion.
Worse: initial motion after rest, damp, cold. Better: limbering, applied heat.
Strains or pulls where ligaments, tendons attach to bone; cartilage injury.
Bruised, aching soreness. Affinity to knee, wrist, neck, low back, hip.
Nodules, deposits in tendons, joints. Weakened ligaments, joints.
Weariness, heaviness after rest, lameness. Easy dislocation & sprain.
Worse: motion, a.m., p.m., cold, damp, touch. Better: warmth, rubbing.
What else you can do
- Follow the RICE acronym: Rest the injured part; Ice the painful area;
Compress the injury with an elastic support bandage; and Elevate the
injured area above the level of the heart. Apply ice for 10 to 20 minutes at
a time; reapply it every two or three hours for one to two days following
the injury. A bag of frozen vegetables-peas work best-is a good
substitute for ice and it can be easily molded around the injured area.
- Once the swelling subsides, use a hot compress or heating pad on the
area to increase blood circulation.
- Vitamin A
- 25,000 IU twice a day for 5 days.
Women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy
should not exceed 5,000 IU a day.
- Vitamin C / Flavonoids
- 1,000 mg vitamin C and 500 mg flavonoids 3 times a day.
Reduce vitamin C dose if
- 500 mg glucosamine sulfate 3 times a day.
Take with food. Not appropriate for
- 500 mg 3 times a day on an empty stomach.
Should provide 6,000 GDU or 9,000 MCU daily
- 100 mg a day for 7 days.
Helps heal ligaments, tendons, and cartilage.
- Arnica ointment
- Apply ointment to painful area 4 times a day.
Don't put on broken skin; never ingest arnica.
- Sweet marjoram oil
- Add a few drops to a basin of cold water.
Soak a towel in mixture,
wring it out, then apply.
- Rosemary oil
- Add a few drops to a basin of cold water.
Soak a towel in mixture, wring it out, then apply.
More useful herbs