The way that an injury is managed in the first 24 hours (the acute phase) can have a huge affect on the injury healing successfully.
Immediately following the checklist that is included in Part 1 you should take the following steps to assist the body in healing:
You should avoid all aggravating factors immediately after the injury.
Over the following days make a list of anything that makes the pain worse and try to avoid these things. It may also help to make a note of things (if any) that improve your pain. For example: your pain might be better after a hot shower or when waking in the morning.
Ice should be applied periodically – 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off – for up to 48 hours post injury. When applying ice to an injured area always make sure your ice pack is properly covered with a piece of fabric or towel between the ice and your skin.
Compression clothing or bandages may be applied to the area following an injury. This will help prevent blood pooling and swelling around the injured area.
The injured area should be elevated whenever possible. This doesn’t mean you have to walk around with the injured area in the air but you should keep the area ‘higher than your heart’ when sitting or sleeping.
These steps should be repeated up to 48 hours post injury, even if your pain has improved.
The next important step that many clients fail to do is to tell someone!
You should always inform your personal trainer or coach about any injury not matter how insignificant you may think it is. That way they can modify exercises to suit you and can pay extra attention to your technique during exercise.
In addition to this you should make an appointment with an experienced therapist who can assess the injury to make sure that the issue can be resolved and that it is not likely to reoccur.
A good therapist will be able to perform techniques to assist the body healing and also give you some strengthening and stretching activities to do at home to improve your recovery rate.
Your best defense against chronic or long-term injuries is taking action early. So, if in doubt always follow these guidelines.
To see the first part in this two-part series ‘preventing injuries’ please click here.