Most of us will sprain or strain muscles and joints at some point, but it’s what you do when it happens that matters. While it might be tempting to just carry on regardless, taking the time to react appropriately can save you hurting yourself even more. In addition, not all sprains and strains hurt straight away, which can trick you into a false sense of security.
So, what should you do if you sustain an injury?
At Fiona Passey, we always recommend that people follow the acronym RICE:
We recommend resting for at least two days, if you can. Try to keep the joint moving through a comfortable range of motion, without overdoing it. This will encourage blood flow to the affected area and keep it flexible during the healing process. When your symptoms begin to resolve, slowly build your activity levels back up.
Wrap some ice in a thin towel and apply it to the affected area for around 15 minutes. If possible, repeat this several times a day for the first couple of days. This will help reduce inflammation and make it easier for your body to repair the injured tissues.
A compression dressing may help to support the injury and reduce swelling, but we’d always recommend removing it if there are signs of reduced circulation to the area. Signs of reduced circulation include pins and needles, numbness or skin turning blue or white.
If possible, elevate the affected area. This makes it easier for your body to drain fluids that might accumulate around the area. For example, if you have hurt your ankle, sitting down with your foot raised on some pillows may help to ease the pain and reduce swelling.
If your pain cannot be controlled with over the counter painkillers, if you experience paralysis or loss of sensation, or if the swelling is particularly bad, ensure you visit your local A&E department or telephone 111 for advice.
Osteopathy can help alleviate the pain of acute and chronic injuries, while putting a plan in place that will bring you back to good health. If you’re suffering with an acute or chronic injury and need help, get in touch with us today.