Many people look for ways to treat sprains and joint injuries at home. They are a common sports injury for athletes, children or anyone who stays active. The old advice of RICE to treat injuries, or Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation can be beneficial. Still, new research has shown that movement and exercise may be just as crucial for recovery.
The type of treatment also depends on the type of injury you have. You should always have a doctor or health care professional evaluate your injury to be sure you don’t have a fracture or any underlying conditions that could get worse. Your top choice chiropractic clinic in 2020 can also advise you on the best course to take.
If you are looking to care for your injury at home, here are some tips on how to care for sprains, strains and joint injuries.
To Rest or to Move?
Conventional wisdom says to stay off an injured joint or limb to allow it time to heal. Dr. Jennifer Robson, who is a Doctor of sports medicine with the University of BC, recommends immediate gentle movement rather than rest to help treat an injury. The goal is to help restore an active range of motion as soon as possible.
The idea is that rest and inactivity shut down blood flow to the muscles. Without blood flow, there isn’t enough oxygen getting to the tissues to help promote healing and to take away damaged tissues. Gentle movement can help flush fresh blood to the injured tissue and bring needed healing elements.
Ice or No Ice?
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Online physiotherapy marketing experts in Vancouver recommend ice as an injury treatment because it helps reduce swelling and inflammation. This reduction in swelling can also be a problem because it slows down the inflammatory response that is needed to start the healing process. The swelling that you see is from additional fluids rushing to help the injured joint heal.
Ice does help with pain and soreness and can be used sparingly to relieve inflammation. Use ice no more than 15 minutes at a time and take a break between icing. You should also be careful about anti-inflammatory medication for the same reason. Ibuprofen will reduce inflammation but may also slow down the healing process.
Try Different Types of Movement
You want to encourage your joints and muscles to regain their range of movement as soon as possible. Dr. Robinson recommends these exercises:
- For foot and ankle injuries, I recommend drawing the alphabet with the toes
- For knees: stationary biking with low tension
- For shoulder injuries: pendulums, pole walking, and Nordic ski
- For neck pain: rows and ellipse
- For back pain: walking, swimming, and yoga
- For lower limb fractures: water running and seated weights
- For upper limb fractures: walking and the recumbent bike
Don’t Ignore Your Emotions
Sometimes we like to think that our physical bodies are separate from our emotions, but they are linked. Many people have an emotional response to injuries and their inability to move and perform as they would like to. Even something as simple as going for a walk or a short run can have a tremendous effect on a person’s mental health.
This emotional connection is the reason some doctors recommend easing back into your activity as soon as possible to remove the fear of the injury and also for the emotional and psychological benefits that that activity can bring. Take it slow, don’t push it.