Tucker Chiropractic Center

Muscle Aches, Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains are usually minor injuries that are often caused by sports, exercise, or other physical activity.

A sprain is an injury to a ligament, the tissue that links bones together at joints. Sprains happen most often in the ankle, knee, elbow, or wrist.

Strains are tears in muscle tissue. They happen most often in the muscles that support the calf, thigh, groin, and shoulder.

Sometimes sprains and strains can be severe, needing weeks of rehabilitation.

Signs and Symptoms


  • Muscle stiffness, tenderness, or soreness
  • Swelling


  • Pain at the time of injury
  • Swelling
  • Bruising

The joint may be unstable or you may not be able to use the affected part of your body if the injury is serious, involving a muscle or ligament tear.


Sprains generally happen when a twisting force is applied to a joint while it is bearing weight, which causes the ligament to stretch beyond its usual limit. Sprains tend to happen with sudden, unexpected movement, like a fall or a twist.

Muscle strains happen when the weight on a muscle is greater than the weakest part of the muscle can bear. Strains tend to happen during activities that require your muscle to stretch and bear weight at the same time. Being injured before or having limited flexibility may contribute to sprains. You are at risk for a sprain or strain if you do the following:

  • Exercise without warming up properly
  • Use athletic equipment that does not fit properly
  • Participate in sports and activities that you are not conditioned for
  • Exercise when bones and muscles are fatigued


Many people visit chiropractors for sprain and strain injuries. In addition to joint manipulation, chiropractors use other treatments for sprains and strains, such as using ice and heat, manual therapies or electrical muscle stimulation. Chiropractors may also recommend stretching and strengthening exercises to help you recover.

In a study of people with ankle sprains, researchers compared chiropractic joint manipulation with an anti-inflammatory medication. They found that joint manipulation worked as well as the anti-inflammatory medication in improving pain and flexibility. It worked better than the medication in improving range of motion. Yet, unlike anti-inflammatory medication, Chiropractic has no side effects, and no risk of damaging your liver and stomach.

In some mild cases home rest, ice, compression and elevation may work, however in our office our goal is to restore normal mechanics to the joint even after the soft tissue has healed. This may include joint mobilization/adjustments, physiotherapy modalities, massage, exercise and nutritional supplements. Our treatment plans are designed to help patients reach optimal function.