General Rules after an Acute Injury by David Waterman
On a daily basis, we have multiple patients ask us if they can resume the same activity immediately after an injury. My response, “Well you probably would not be in our office if you could keep playing basketball, bicycling, football, swimming etc.” Injuries serious enough to bring you into the doctor’s office should not be taken lightly or treated as an afterthought.
The first rule and most important rule of thumb when you are injured is, “if it hurts, STOP DOING IT.” There are conflicting viewpoints to mine such as the sayings – “no pain, no gain” or “walk it off.” Pain is sign of injury, so if it hurts, it’s probably an injury. If it hurts even more, you are probably injuring it more.
Ice is generally used to reduce swelling and pain by constricting the blood vessels at the site and numbing the nerves. Take note that a prolonged period of icing can reduce the benefits or in some cases cause more injury. A general rule with icing is to do it no longer than 20 minutes. It’s good to note that blood flow also removes the swelling at the site of the injury, so constant constriction isn’t helpful to the healing process.
Elevate your injury as high above your heart as you can and allow gravity to assist in the reduction of swelling at the area of injury.
Heat Just like the natural properties of ice are used in treatment, so are the properties of heat. Heat increases the blood flow and looseness helping to release some tension and tightness and prepping the area of injury for good blood flow to carry away some swelling.
Move! Isaac Newton showed us that an “object at rest stays at rest” and an “object in motion stays in motion.” Give yourself a day or two to rest after injury, but don’t let it entirely take you out. Try to start moving gradually. Your body is like a car, and proper maintenance includes getting out and putting some miles on it. If something breaks, you replace or repair it, fine tune it, and use it. If you stop moving for too long, eventually it gets harder to get back to it- like the old saying goes “a rolling stone gathers no moss.” So get out there take care of yourself and get back in the daily fight.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.