Spotting the Differences between Muscle and Bone Problems

When you are suffering from some kind of pain, it can sometimes be difficult to determine whether than pain is related to joints, bones, muscles or other soft tissues in the body. One factor is the type of injury. For example, a sudden twist where you feel a pull might suggest an injury to a muscle or a joint ligament or a hard fall onto a hand or wrist is more likely to be a bone injury.

Other factors include the location of pain and what the pain feels like. Some joint injuries give a dull ache whereas a muscle or bone injury might be sharper. Swelling, bruising, redness and other visual signs of injuries can also provide clues about exactly what has been injured.


Strains, Sprains and Fractures

The three most common types of acute injuries are strains, sprains and fractures. A sprain is an injury sustained by a ligament, which is soft tissue that attach bones together in a joint. A strain is an injury or tear to muscles or tendons. Your tendons attach your muscles to bones. It can be difficult to tell the difference between these two injuries. A fracture is more straightforward however, as it involves a break in the hard bone.

A sprained ligament will usually result in some swelling and joint instability. As ligaments link bones together, the joint becomes floppier and more unstable when they are compromised. A strained tendon typically doesn’t cause as much swelling or pain. However, it can affect mobility as the muscle isn’t properly connected. For example, if you tear a tendon in front of your ankle, you may struggle to lift your ankle up or down. If you tear it in the back of your shoulder, you may struggle to lift your arm up.


Common Strain and Sprain Injuries

The most commonly strained muscles are in the back and legs, typically the hamstring and calf muscles. These areas are most prone to injury as they play such as big role in supporting the weight of your body and providing movement. For example, the simple act of walking requires each foot to support 10 times your body weight with each step.

Sprain injuries are also common in your back and extremities, with knee injuries topping the list of ligament sprains. Twisting motions common in a range of sports can cause sprains in your knees and ankles. Sprains in the elbow and shoulder are also common when playing sports like tennis, golf or baseball.


What Kind of Treatment Should I Get?

Knowing what to do when you break a bone is straightforward but sprains and strains can be unclear. Sometimes, it’s a simple matter of RICE – rest, ice, compress and elevate. After some time, swelling may go down and your pain may reduce allowing you to cautiously return to your day to day activities.

Other times you may need additional treatment which can range from physical therapy to physiotherapeutic muscle therapy if an injury leads to chronic pain. Acute injuries can cause tightness, sensitivities and knots in your muscle tissue and myofascial tissue later down the line causing pain and limiting complete mobility.


Make an Appointment at Our Perth Clinic

For more information on our physiotherapeutic muscle therapy or chiropractic adjustments, read more about what to expect for your first visit. If you’re experiencing pain related to your spine, joints or soft tissue, make an appointment with our chiropractors today. To make an appointment, contact us online or call 08 9227 9341 today.