Physical Therapy for Strains in Nassau County
Often confused or interchanged with a sprain, a strain is a tear or stretching of a muscle or tendon while a sprain is damage of a ligament. Strains can occur from overuse, fatigue, or improper use of a muscle and most commonly occur in the lower back area and the hamstring muscle in the back of the thigh.
Chronic strains occur over time and can occur often, usually from overusing a muscle or tendon without rest.
Strains are categorized in three categories depending on severity. Grade one strains are a mild overstretching or minor tearing of a muscle. Grade two strains are the partial tear of a muscle, but stays intact. Grade three strains are severe, with the complete tear of a muscle or tendon.
Grade one and mild grade two strains can usually be treated by using the R.I.C.E. technique; rest, ice, compression, and elevation for several days after the injury occurs. Grade three strains will require immobilization of the area and several more weeks of the R.I.C.E. technique. Signs of a grade three strain include:
- There is an audible “pop” when the injury occurs.
- Numbness around the injured area
- There is severe pain when moving the injured limb
- The injured limb gives way or buckles when the joint is used.
- There is severe swelling, pain, fever, or broken cuts at or around the injury.
Further rehabilitation provided by physical therapy may be needed to return the injured area back to the normal, pain-free range of motion, strength, and joint function it had before the injury. Therapy differs depending on the severity of the strain and the area, and a physical therapist will prescribe an exercise program that fits the type of injury.
Therapists will use a combination of hands-on techniques to increase the strength and mobility around the joint. To control any pain or swelling the patient may undergo during physical therapy, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and heat/ice may be applied. The duration of therapy is different for every patient and depends on the severity of the injury, the activity level the patient intends on returning to (athletes may take longer), and what exercise the patient does at home to speed the process.
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