Sprains, Strains, and Sports Injuries
If you've suffered a recent sprain, strain, or sports injury, you should make an appointment to be seen within the First 24 – 48 hours, if possible. A thorough exam and X-rays, if necessary, will be performed to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. Before your visit, the following self-care advice (R.I.C.E.) is crucial to decrease pain and swelling and to speed the healing process:
It is important to protect the area from further injury by avoiding any possible stress or strain. Staying off your feet and/or avoiding any activity involving the injured area may be necessary for the First few days.
Ice therapy or cryotherapy is often thought of as the therapy of choice for acute injuries. Actually, the application of ice over any painful tissue is usually effective at any stage of an injury. It works by constricting blood flow to the tissue, thereby reducing swelling, pain, and muscular spasms. It is very important to use ice correctly. It should be used for a maximum of 20 minutes, but may be applied each hour. Also, it is important that you do not apply the ice directly to the skin. Instead, wrap the ice pack in a paper towel or thin damp cloth prior to applying to the injured area.
Compression is especially important to decrease swelling if you've injured your knee or ankle. Wrap the area with an elastic bandage using firm pressure, but not too tightly as to cut off circulation to your feet. Before going to bed, loosen the bandage a bit to prevent circulatory problems.
Elevation also helps to decrease swelling, which can interfere with the healing process. Whenever possible, elevate the body part as close to, or higher, than the level of your heart.
During an acute attack of back and neck pain, you can usually:
• Use ice and/or over-the-counter medication to control the pain.
• Use spinal manipulation to reduce the pain and improve range of motion.
• Stay active and at work.
• Modify your activities.
If you pain is more severe, you may need some rest for a few days. Applying ice, or lying down might help as well. More specifically, many people find relief by lying flat on your back with the knees bent and supported by pillows under the knees. When applying ice, place a thin, damp cloth between the ice and your skin. Leave the ice on for 10 - 20 minutes. Repeat up to one application each hour, for no longer than 20 minutes at a time. But, only do this for a day or two; DO NOT think of this as treatment. The faster you get going, the sooner your back will feel better.
Build up your activities and your exercise tolerance over a few days or weeks. Even if you have pain and restrictions, get back to work and activities as soon as possible. If you have a labor-intensive job, do not be afraid to ask for help or alert your boss of your condition.
Seeking out chiropractic care at this stage will help you recover and get back into your usual activities more quickly.
What you need to know about back pain
• Back aches and pains are usually not due to any serious disease.
• Most back pain settles quickly, allowing you to get back to a "normal life." However, it is true that 50% of people with back pain will have another episode within a few years.
• Back pain can be very painful. At First, you may need to modify or reduce your usual activities. However, you should keep moving because total bed rest for more than 2 days can actually do more harm than good.
• The sooner you get back to normal activities, the sooner your back will feel better. Keep in mind that your back is designed for movement.
• Spinal manipulation, or the chiropractic adjustment, can decrease pain and restore normal movement to spinal bones.
• The people that cope the best are those who move and stay active despite the pain.
Causes of Back Pain
• Your spine is one of the strongest parts of your body. Made of moveable bony blocks with a cushion-like disc in between, your spine is both strong and flexible. Strong ligaments and powerful muscles further stabilize it.
• Most people with backaches or pain do not have damage to their spine.
• Very few people with backaches have a "slipped disc" or a trapped nerve.
• Most x-ray findings are due to normal changes that occur with aging. These degenerative changes do not necessarily mean that you have arthritis.
• Most back pain is due to abnormal function of the muscles, ligaments and joints in your back. They are simply not moving and working in the manner that they should. This can usually be corrected through spinal manipulation and therapeutic exercise.
• Stress can increase the amount of pain that you feel. Tension causes muscle spasms that are painful.
• People that are physically fit generally get less back pain and recover quicker.
Active Exercise or Rest?
Old fashioned treatment for back pain was prolonged bed rest. However, bed rest for more than 1-2 days is not good because of the following reasons:
• Your muscles and bones get weaker.
• You get stiff.
• The pain feels worse.
• You get depressed.
• You lose physical fitness.
• It’s harder to get going.
Of course, you might need to do slightly less when the pain is bad; or you might be forced to have a day or two in bed at First. But the most important thing is to get moving again ASAP!
Exercise Is Good For You
You body thrives with use. Activity is what helps to keep your body healthy.
Different exercises suit different people. Dr. Ezgur & DiDomenico can help you find out which exercises suit your back the best. Aching muscles after exercising is normal in the beginning. It does not mean that you are damaging anything. But do remember to rearrange your routine to get some daily exercise scheduled.
No one pretends that exercising is easy; it can often hurt a little at First. But one thing is certain: the longer that you put off exercising, the harder and more painful it will be. The choice is yours.
When to See Your Chiropractic Doctor and What They Can Do
Sometimes you can deal with back pain yourself, but if the pain persists, or continues to recur, or if you just want to speed up the recovery process, you should see a chiropractic physician. Chiropractors can diagnose and successfully treat a variety of spinal conditions. If yours is one of the few truly serious spinal conditions, your chiropractor will be able to accurately diagnosis it, and refer you to a medical specialist, if necessary.
Doctors can reassure you that your condition is or is not serious. They utilize a variety of treatments to help you control your pain. They can advise you on how to manage your pain and reduce the chances of relapse.
WARNING SIGNS: (Remember that back pain is rarely due to something serious)
• Difficulty passing or controlling urine or bowel movements
• Anal or genital numbness
• Numbness, weakness, or pins and needles in both legs
• Unsteadiness on your feet
These symptoms are rare but if you do have back pain and suddenly develop any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. You should also see a doctor if you have severe pain that gets worse instead of better, or if you feel sick with your back pain.
There Are Two Types of Suffers–Those that avoid activity and those that cope!
• Avoiders get frightened by the pain and worry about the future.
• Avoiders are afraid that hurting means further damage — it doesn’t.
• Avoiders rest a lot and wait for the pain to get better.
• Avoiders suffer the most because their pain lasts longer, have more time off work, and can become more disabled!
• Copers know that pain will get better and do not fear the future.
• Copers carry on as normally as possible.
• Copers deal with the pain by staying at work, staying active and being positive.
• Copers suffer less and they are healthier in the long run!
Deep Breathing Exercises for Relaxation
The following deep breathing exercise will decrease emotional stress, promote muscle relaxation, ease pain, and facilitate better sleep and energy levels:
1. Assume rest position of jaw: keep tongue up, resting lightly on the upper palate and behind the two upper teeth.
2. Rapidly exhale all the air from your lungs, through your mouth, with your lips in a pursed position, so that you make a "whoosh" sound.
3. Inhale through your nose, into your abdomen* (not your upper chest), for a count of 4.
4. Hold for a count of 7.
5. Exhale slowly, through your mouth, again making a "whoosh" sound, for a count of 8.
6. Repeat steps 3–5 for a total of 4 cycles.
7. Perform this exercise at least 3 times each day, throughout the day, while sitting, standing, walking, driving, waiting in a line; anytime you're feeling anxious or stressed out. Also do the exercise once or twice per day for 5–10 minutes while lying down on your back with your knees bent.
*To train abdominal breathing, place one hand on your abdomen, and the other on your upper chest, and focus on directing the inhalation of air into your abdomen. It may be helpful at first to actually push your abdomen out as you inhale. Be patient. As with any new skill, abdominal breathing takes some practice. Keep in mind that the goal is relaxation, so don't try too hard.