We’ve all hurt ourselves before. Maybe you twisted your ankle on the stairs, or playing a sport. Maybe you hit your elbow or your knee on something. Or you strained your back lifting something you shouldn’t have. Hey, sometimes you can just wake up with a pain that seemed to have come out of nowhere!
So what is the best thing to do? With so many ‘Google Doctor’s’ out there I’m sure you could ask 10 different people and get 10 different answers. I’ll simplify it for you. When you get injured, there is inflammation. It’s the body’s first stage of healing. To treat inflammation, start with the acronym R.I.C.E.
Rest– Give the body time to use its energy for healing. This will help reduce inflammation
Ice– COOL the inflamed area. DO NOT USE HEAT!
Compression– Pressure helps keep the swelling down, and helps rest the area by keeping it more still
Elevation– Keeps fluid from building up due to gravity
I can’t tell you how many people have come in after an injury, put heat on it, and were way worse the next day. Cold will take the edge off by contricting the blood and lymph vessels and creating a numbing effect. Just remember: Inflammation has the term FLAME in it. Cool the flame, don’t add more heat.
There are also topical cooling gels that work pretty well. Things like BioFreeze or IcyHot have the same active ingredient. They’re pretty cheap and easy to keep in a first aid kit.
Another topical that is always in my first aid kit is Arnica Gel. Arnica Montana is a homeopathic which speeds up healing and tissue repair. It helps with pain relief, inflammation, and bruising. For most injuries the first thing I do is put on Arnica and then a cold pack.
Pressure, applied the right way, can also help. If there is a muscle that is cramping or tight, place steady pressure in the center of the tight spot and gently move the muscle. If it is more of a joint sprain/strain injury, compress the area with an ACE bandage or medical tape.
If the injury is to a joint like the ankle or knee, elevation is important. Sit with the injured leg propped up. Elevation will help the inflammation and swelling drain out.
Once the initial inflammation has gone down a little it’s easier to tell just how bad the injury is. Scheduling an appointment for an adjustment is what I would do next. It is VERY important to make sure that the joints are in alignment and pressure is off of the nerves so the body can heal properly. And most of the time you’ll leave feeling much better than when you came in.
Feel free to give us a call or send us a message if you have any questions about treating an injury. We’re here to help in any way we can!