11 Jan What do we do when we suffer an injury?
What Should You Do When You Suffer a Sports Injury?
Rest from painful exercise or a movement is essential in the early injury stage. “No pain. No gain.” does not apply in most cases. The rule of thumb is – don’t do anything that reproduces your pain for the initial two or three days. After that, you need to get it moving or other problems will develop.
Ice or Heat?
We normally recommend avoiding heat (and heat rubs) in the first 48 hours of injury. The heat encourages bleeding, which could be detrimental if used too early. In traumatic injuries, such as ligament sprains, muscle tears or bruising, ice should help reduce your pain and swelling. St John’s First Aid recommend 15 minutes, 2 hours rest and repeat for the first 24 hrs then out to 4 hours for the next 24.
Once the “heat” has come out of your injury, heat packs can be used. It has been recommended that 20 minute applications a few times a day to increase the blood flow and hasten your healing rate. Heat will also help your muscles relax and ease your pain and therefore promote a better ROM.
Should You Use a Compression Bandage?
Yes, in most cases a compression bandage will help to control swelling and bleeding in the first few days. In most cases, the bandage will also help to support the injury as the new scar tissue is laid down. This should help to reduce your pain. Some injuries will benefit from more rigid support such as a brace or strapping tape.
Gravity will encourage swelling to settle at the lowest point. Elevation of an injury in the first few days is very helpful, especially for ankle or hand injuries. Think where your injury is and where your heart is. Try to rest your injury above your heart.
What Medication Should You Use?
Your Doctor or Pharmacist may recommend pain killers or an anti-inflammatory drug. It is best to seek their professional advice as certain drugs can interfere with other health conditions. More natural pain rubs like arnica, and cooling gels work really well in most cases too and are less potent on our bodies.
When Should You Commence Physio?
In most cases, “the early bird gets the worm”. Researchers have found that intervention of physiotherapy treatment within a few days has many benefits. These include:
- Relieving your pain quicker via joint mobility techniques, massage and hydrotherapy.
- Improving your scar tissue using techniques to guide the direction it forms
- Getting you back to sport or work quicker through faster healing rates
- Loosening or strengthening of your injured region with individually prescribed exercises
- Improving your performance when you do return to sport – they will detect and help you to correct any bio mechanical faults that may be affecting your technique or predisposing you to injury
If you have had an injury in the past you realise how beneficial and crucial it is to follow the R.I.C.E method. Your nutrition plays a hug part in your recovery also! Especially if you are laid up and not able to move, your body needs the best medicine possible….. which is food, have a chat to us today regarding which is the right path for you.