After the Injury
By Mary Chase
It’s that time of year. Every time I turn around lately ,someone has a new skiing injury to report or a fall on the ice. I myself write to you this week one handed, the other arm in an immobilizer as a result of a recent biking accident. So, once the injury has happened, now what?
The first consideration is your condition pre-injury. The better shape you are in, the faster you will heal. Countless research studies have proven it. Furthermore, be mindful of how you treat your body during the healing process. If you eat too much, or in an unhealthy manner, the extra pounds you gain will only provide another obstacle on your road to healthiness. So get rid of the thinking that “injury time” is a break time from healthy habits and eating; it will only hinder a speedy recovery.
“R.I.C.E.” Live it, learn it, believe it. These letters stand for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. The acronym exists for a reason. Let the injury rest so the body can use its own healing force to work to repair the afflicted area. Ice the area to reduce tension, soreness, and swelling to the area. Compression can mean wrapping an injured area, or wearing an apparatus, such as the shoulder immobilizer I am currently sporting, in order to aid in further reduction of swelling, and stabilize the area for a safer healing environment. Elevation, the blood in your body rushes to an injured area as a method to heal the injury. However sometimes that blood and swelling can hinder the healing process. Elevating the injured area will allow the blood flow to draw away from the injury and will discourage swelling as well as other side effects of the healing process.
While we are on the subject of swelling, be aware of the benefit that ibuprofen can have on an injured area. Ibuprofen can reduce swelling, as well as relieve discomfort for the injured area. Always make sure to consult, and listen to your doctor,s instructions regarding pain management and healing. Their word is gold, and treat it as such, so that you are sure to heal quickly and safely. Make sure to tell your health care provider all medications you are taking, whether they are over the counter, herbs, or prescriptions so they can be aware of possible interactions that could be dangerous or even just sub optimal.
And on the subject of health care, do not abandon physical therapy, even if the injury is feeling better. Furthermore, listen and practice the exercises the physical therapist gives you. The physical therapist’s job is not only to help your injured area feel better, but ensure that you have full range of motion and capabilities of the injured area. So stick with the exercises and appointments until the physical therapist determines the affected area is healed.
Finally, proceed with caution. Injured muscles and bones take quite a while to heal completely. A secondary injury during the healing process can often be worse than the initial injury. So proceed with caution as you heal; I promise your former fun, fit lifestyle is just around the corner.