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Preventing and Treating Sprains and Strains

A sprain or strain can happen without warning and are common occurrences in everyday life. When a ligament is injured, the result is a sprain. Along with it can come pain and swelling as well as bruising. On the other hand, a strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is injured.1 Both issues are unpleasant, but the good news is that there are ways to keep them both at bay.

Preventing Sprains and Strains

Both sprains and strains are caused by motion that puts stress on the body. Slipping on ice, for instance, is a common cause of sprains.2 Taking precautions such as putting salt or sand on icy surfaces and wearing appropriate footwear can help prevent these types of injuries.

Strains can happen suddenly or develop over days or weeks, and are often caused by holding awkward positions or bad posture, which can overstress your muscle and ligaments. For example, standing for hours in high heels may cause pain or cramping in your legs the next day.

To help prevent sprains and strains:

Use caution when exerting yourself physically
Sprains and strains are common. Sometimes they happen when you least expect it, such as lifting a heavy box or just moving around some furniture. It is important to take precautions such as stretching and warming up your muscles and avoiding physical activity when you’re tired or in pain.

Adjust your posture
Poor posture can place too much pressure on joints which, in turn, can lead to sprains and strains. If you work in an office, make sure your desk and chair are properly adjusted to your height and weight. Try to keep your back straight when sitting and standing to maintain good alignment.

Maintain a healthy weight
Being in good physical condition can help ward off sprains and strains. Avoid smoking and drinking excessively, exercise and eat a well‐balanced diet to keep muscles strong.

How to Treat Sprains and Strains

If you do experience a sprain or strain, it’s important to immediately take the stress off the area. The R.I.C.E. approach can be used for one to two days to help treat the injured area and promote recovery:3


It is important that you rest the injured area. Stop regular activities as much as possible for a day or so.


Put a cold pack on and off the sprain or strain for 20 minutes at a time.


Straps and elastic bandages or braces work to both support the injury and reduce swelling.


Try using a pillow to elevate the injured area when you can for the first few days.4

For fast and effective pain relief, choose an over‐the‐counter medication such as MOTRIN® Liquid Gels or MOTRIN® Platinum Muscle and Body. These products will help you manage your pain and discomfort until your body has healed. They also work to reduce the inflammation pain that is associated with sprains and strains, which can help you feel better faster so that you can resume your regular activities.

This information does not constitute a diagnosis of any medical condition or medical advice. Do not substitute this information for medical advice. Always consult your physician or health care provider if you have medical or health questions or concerns. To be sure this product is right for you, always read and follow the label.


MOTRIN® Platinum Muscle & Body Caplets

Works in two ways to relieve back pain, and relax tense muscles.

Adult Dosing Charts

Follow these dosing directions for MOTRIN® Tablets,  MOTRIN® Liquid Gels, MOTRIN® Platinum Muscle & Body Caplets.