ACUTE INJURY CARE AND INFLAMMATION
Inflammation is a living tissue’s response to injury, trauma, or stress. The inflammatory process is initiated when living tissue such as muscles, tendons, cartilage and bone, are disrupted by abnormal amounts of physical stress (such as trauma and repetitive injury). When a person’s symptoms demonstrate an active inflammatory process, we call this phase “acute”, and treating acute injuries is done best done by following the acronym “P.R..I.CE.S.” It goes something like this...
Avoiding further trauma or the mechanisms that aggravate the injury is the first and in my opinion, the most important step. For some people, this could mean avoiding a sports activity, a certain movement, or a period of relative inactivity in order for the injury to adequately rest. Taking prescriptive or over the counter medications to block pain or inflammation has its place in treatment but is often misused, causing the body to forget that an injury is still present. Injured body parts that return to activities sooner than it is ready can lead to a chronic condition that is long-standing, coming and going over time but never resolving. This leads to more medications or injections for relief, and the cycle continues until that body part shuts down from excessive tearing or further inflammation. Being pain free is not the same as being injury free.
“Resting” is not the same as inactivity. I typically recommend changing the mode of exercise or movements to minimize muscle atrophy to other body parts while simultaneously engaging the cardiovascular system.
Inflammation is like a signal fire that alerts the brain that an injury is present. Ice is typically best for acute inflammation by reducing heat and swelling in the area. Ice is a good way to manage inflammation during the acute stage.
Elastic bandages and compression sleeves are excellent ways of maintaining pressure around areas of swelling during the acute phase. In fact, compression is very effective in the night-time during sleep because our vascular system dilates when our body is not resisting gravity.
Placing the an injured extremity during the day and especially during the night-time while sleeping is an excellent way to reduce swelling. Keep those pillows handy!
Sports taping, protective braces, and even corrective exercises are essential in providing support to injured body parts. They are helpful when transitioning back into activity after the injury is resolved.
Dr. Adrian has been a South Pasadena Chiropractor since 2000. You may contact him through www.southpaschiro.com.