Sprains: from common symptoms to effective therapy

19 December 2019 - Therapies -

A sprain is defined as damage to a joint caused by a trauma with elongation or rupture of the ligaments caused by sudden twisting and rotating movements, common in sports or work activities or as a result of road accidents.
Although all joints can be subject to sprains, the articulations which are most often affected are the ankle, knee and shoulder. Cervical sprains are also very common, mainly the result of car accidents and are commonly known as "whiplash injuries", which it is estimated affect up to 5% of accident victims. Finally, there is a gender difference in the disease: while men are more affected than women, the latter are more likely to suffer from persistent pain.


In general, the symptoms associated with sprains are pain, haematoma, oedema, heat and functional disability. In the specific case of "whiplash injury", headaches, stiffness of the muscles of the neck and back and sometimes an annoying buzzing sensation in the ears are common.


Normally, an X-ray is sufficient to diagnose a sprain. In some cases, when a more thorough damage assessment is required, ultrasound and/or magnetic resonance imaging may be prescribed.


The acute treatment of sprains involves resting, applying ice, compressing and elevating the limb if necessary. The joint is generally immobilised with supports or bandages for a period which varies and is proportional to the extent of the injury. Pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs are also usually prescribed, especially in this first phase of treatment. Surgery, on the other hand, is only carried out in the case of serious injuries. In the post-surgical or post-acute phase, rehabilitation and physical therapies are an important aid both in order to manage pain and the oedema and to promote functional recovery and muscle strengthening. In the case of moderate-severe sprains, the joint must start to be used again gradually as soon as the swelling and joint effusion have been absorbed and allow movement. Finally, proper rehabilitation is an important tool for preventing future injuries. 

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Workshop Mphi 5 laser - Wien

And laser therapy?

The most common physical therapy techniques for the treatment of sprains are iontophoresis, electrotherapy, physical therapy and decontracting massages.
Laser therapy in particular has proved to be an effective tool in the treatment of both cervical sprains and sprains on the lower limbs (knee and ankle).

The cases

The 2004 MLS®Scientific Report by Corti and collaborators describes a case study of 20 patients with post-traumatic cervical sprain who were successfully treated in order to reduce pain and improve their joint mobility with MLS®Laser Therapy. Similar results were also obtained from 11 patients with knee sprain and 18 patients with ankle sprain treated with a cycle of MLS®Laser Therapy, as reported by Corti et al. ON Energy for Health #1.
Variations in pain, assessed by using the VAS scale before and after each application, showed rapid improvement in both pain and function.

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