One of the fundamental principles of wellness is that you have the power to control your own health, largely through increased physical activity. Since occasional injury is usually part of that activity, knowing how to treat some common non-serious injuries is a big part of wellness.
Our mindset has a lot to do with injury treatment. Doctors’ visits should probably be for things like unexplained lumps and car accident injuries. Everyday sprains, pulls, and so on can be treated at home. Besides, no one wants to go to the ER and be treated by a stranger, and then get a big bill because an insurance company’s definition of “emergency” is usually “blood spurting from at least one orifice.”
Given time and the right tools, most injuries will heal on their own, and the parasympathetic nervous system should be part of this process. When our bodies are at rest, they will heal themselves. Even better, there are some ways to hasten the process.
Mild breaks, sprains, and dislocations are some of the quintessential injuries that can heal themselves over time, with just a little bit of help.
First, the joint needs to be reset to the proper position. This process isn’t quite like the one in action movies, wherein the star pops his/her shoulder back into position and then goes back to fighting evil at full speed the very next scene. Although it is not very hard to reposition a joint, most people require more than two seconds to get back to normal.
Second, use an arm sling for shoulder support or similar device to immobilize the joint. This process allows the bone or muscle to rest and fuse back together while also protecting the joint from re-injury.
At this point, consider an analgesic or other mild pain reliever to take the edge off the discomfort. A powerful opioid pain pill may be a bad idea for a variety of reasons, but most importantly for self-healing purposes, complete pain elimination may convey the feeling that the injury has already healed, when that may not be the case.
Fitness injuries, like groin strains, and knee sprains, are a natural part of physical activity. So, rather than rushing to the doctor or feeling guilty over a lack of prevention, just focus on getting better.
The tried-and-true RICE method is usually the best way to recover from these injuries:
Rest: Use the affected area as little as possible. For example, if you hurt your knee, ride a bike instead of jogging.
Ice: Cold is a great way to reduce inflammation and also relieve discomfort. Ice the area for about twenty minutes every few hours during the first three days after injury, then less frequently thereafter.
Compression: Limit swelling with an ACE Bandage, or even better, with a specially designed compression wrap that’s customized for that joint.
Elevation: Keep the injured area above your heart as much as possible. A few pillows while lying down usually does the trick.
Some people also add an analgesic pain reliever, but for the reasons outlined above, don’t go too far.
There is a link between dehydration and some back injuries, because if the soft center of the spine dries up, it cannot move and flex the way it should, especially when stress is applied.
So, when you feel a twinge in your back, take that as a cue to stay better hydrated and not as a cue to head to the chiropractor. Obviously, if the pain gets worse, you should definitely see a doctor straightaway, before permanent damage sets in.
Take these tips to heart, and be empowered to control your health.