We have all encountered bumps, falls and scrapes at one time or another and usually we don’t think anything of it. We assume that it will just get better in its own time. Sometimes this is not the case though. The healing time of an injury and the eventual outcome of the healing process can be greatly affected by what is done immediately or soon after it occurs.
With a little knowledge about how you can treat these minor injuries the risk of complication is significantly reduced.
The most important symptom to treat is the swelling that comes as a result of the injury. The swelling is necessary to a point because it contains cells that help you to heal. But if the swelling gets to be too great or remains for too long then problems such as pain, stiffness and weakness in the affected area can occur.
A simple acronym to remember is R.I.C.E.
R is for relative rest. It is important to rest the affected area so that it can heal but not to completely immobilize it because some movement helps to circulate the swelling.
I is for ice. Ice packs are essential for reducing swelling and should be done regularly. The severity of the injury will determine how often is necessary. Anywhere from every 2 hours to twice a day.
C is for compression. Compression can be achieved by bandaging or a compression sleeve. This will help to control the amount of swelling in the affected area especially when moving around.
E is for elevation. By raising the injured part as level to the heart as is comfortable the swelling will not accumulate as much. This will relieve some of the pressure from swelling and in turn reduce the pain.
These tips are not intended to be used instead of a healthcare professional be that a doctor or physiotherapist but as a guideline for the person to treat themselves until they can get to see someone.
Fractures obviously should be seen by an emergency room doctor but sprains and strains are not emergency issues and can be handled in the mean time by you.
Bsc(Hons) Physiotherapy, MCSP, SRP
Genesis Therapy Group