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Have you just injured your back, sprained an ankle or pulled a hamstring? Don’t worry – follow these simple tips to help reduce your pain and speed up your recovery from injury.
1: Keep Moving
One of the most important things to do after injury is to keep mobile. Movement is key for proper healing and has been shown to:
- Accelerate tendon, ligament, muscle and bone healing.
- Increase strength of recovering tissues.
- Induce more rapid and intensive blood vessel growth into the injured area leading to enhanced blood flow and improved healing.
However, it is also important to be aware that excessive or uncontrolled movement will disrupt tissue repair and may cause further damage. The intensity of movement must therefore be determined by the type, degree and stage of injury.
In some cases, such as severe muscle tears and severe neck or low back pain, a day or two of rest may be warranted. However, movement and loading should still be performed as soon as possible but this should never result in an increase in pain.
Begin with small movements or contractions of muscles in the injured area and repeat as often as possible. This must be done without causing an increase in pain. As the pain lessens, begin to incorporate larger movements involving more muscles. For example, with an ankle sprain you may start by just wiggling toes, then contracting your calf, thigh and foot muscles. Then, when possible, move the ankle in all directions but at all times not increasing pain.
2: Contrast Therapy
Contrast therapy involves applying alternating hot and cold to the injured tissue. It is a simple, safe and cheap method of aiding recovery and reducing pain. Heating and cooling helps to stimulate blood circulation and has a positive effect on inflammation. Cooling also has an analgesic effect and therefore contrast therapy can be a useful aid to reduce pain prior to performing mobilisation exercises.
- Apply an ice pack wrapped in a teacloth (or use a hot/ cold pack with compreesion wrap) to the affected area for 3-5 minutes, then remove.
- Apply a heat pack (wrapped in a teacloth) for 3-5 minutes, then remove.
- Repeat the process 3-5 times.
- For best results perform gentle mobilisation exercises of the affected area for 1-2 minutes after each bout of ice and heat.
Are you suffering with unresolving pain or injury? Click here to find out how treatment at Dynamic Health could help.
This post was written by Steffen Toates. Steffen is a chiropractor at Dynamic Health Chiropractic in Jersey, Channel Islands. For more infomation about Steffen click here.