Sprains vs. Strains: What’s the Difference?

Have you ever wondered what the difference between a strained muscle and a sprained one is? Read on to get to the bottom of the confusion and learn why it’s important to tell them apart. 

A sprain is defined as a stretch or tear in a ligament, while a muscle strain is a stretch or tear in a muscle or tendon. Tendons connect muscles to bone, while ligaments are a strong connective tissue that connects bones to bones.

Causes & Symptoms

Though the terms “sprain” and “strain” are sometimes used interchangeably, the causes and symptoms of each do differ. For example, a muscle sprain can be linked to an injury or trauma to the body. This could be from sudden or awkward movements while exercising or landing on a body part from a fall. On the other hand, a muscle strain can usually occur from repetitive motions, heavy lifting, or even bad posture.

From the symptoms chart below, it is easy to see how sprains and strains can get mixed up since the injuries are so much alike. The key difference in symptoms is the noted bruising that occurs with a sprain, versus the muscle spasm or cramping that accompanies a muscle strain.

It’s important to also mention that sprains are most commonly seen in the ankle, and muscle strains can occur in various places in the body like the lower back, shoulders, and neck.

Treatment & Prevention

Accidents and injuries happen to even the most healthy individuals. However, there are some risk factors everyone should be aware of to help lessen the chances of a sprain or strain. Being mindful of your posture throughout the day and warming up before exercise are great tips to practice. Typically a sprain or strain can be treated by resting and icing the injured body part for a while. We’ve also been able to help clients rehabilitate from both at Myopress with neuromuscular therapy. These techniques are medical in nature and allow a highly-specialized use of pressure and friction to relieve knots and limitations in the body. With ongoing treatment, clients can address and correct imbalances that hinder an active and fulfilling life.


Whether you’re dealing with limitations from a sprain, or ongoing pain from straining a muscle, it is key to understand the difference in each of these ailments. We can help.


Phone: (832) 523 – 2137

Locations: Cypress- 11810 Cypress North Houston Rd, Cypress, TX 77429

Bellaire – 5909 W Loop S #380,  Bellaire, TX 77401
Email: info@myopress.com

About Myopress®:

Myopress Inc.® is a licensed neuromuscular therapy clinic with offices in Houston and Cypress Texas. Owner Ephraim Colwell has over 15 years of experience and is eager to solve your pain problems using his expertise in the body’s neuromuscular system. Call, email, or come by to book an appointment! Rates start at $85/hr & all new clients receive $20 off their first session.

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