Elevation. Place the injured area on a pillow or similar soft surface, at or above the level of your heart. This will help to reduce swelling. Remember that the elevation is only effective if the level of the injured area is at or above the level of the heart. Sitting in a chair with your leg on a short footstool does not do enough to return the fluid to the heart.
The RICE method may also be applied to a chronic re injury, or overuse condition. The use of ice will help reduce the swelling and pain when a flare up occurs. After the swelling has been reduced, the proper management of any chronic condition requires an understanding of why the affected area continues to be problematic. One of the most common reasons is weakened support tissue or damaged muscle. Chronic re injuries can therefore be reduced by limiting or removing the repetitive or exaggerated forces to the injured area while at the same time improving the strength, flexibility, and integrity to the surrounding tissue.
It is always best to seek the advice of a qualified professional who is knowledgeable in both the treatment and prevention of sports injuries. Chiropractors diagnose, evaluate, and administer rehabilitative treatment for many types of sports injuries, especially those involving sprains to tendons and joints, strains to muscles, and non paralyzing injuries to the spine. A chiropractor with specialized training in the treatment of sports injuries can help you to recover from your injury and can also help you avoid future re injury.
Chiropractors diagnose and evaluate sports injury by use of history (how, when, and why it happened) examination, and (if needed) x ray. After the diagnosis and the severity of the injury are determined, an appropriate treatment program will be recommended. This program may involve the use of adjustive procedures and physiotherapy to help reduce swelling and improve the integrity in and around the site of the injury.
In the initial stage of care, your chiropractor may use certain modalities such as ice massage, ultrasound, or galvanic stimulation to reduce the swelling around a joint or in a muscle. Techniques such as passive range of motion may also be applied (a modern technique proven through research studies to decrease swelling and initiate as well as improve healing to an injured area.)
In the later stages of care, the emphasis is generally placed on improving the integrity of the injured tissue through heat, massage, careful mobilization, and stretching. All of these therapies help to remove the chemicals and waste products from within the injured, which would lead to arthritis if left untreated. A strengthening plan, to help you prevent re injuries in the future, may be recommended when the injury is well healed.
Early detection of problems, which could lead to an injury are important to recognize. If you have any of the warning signs below, you should consider contacting a Doctor of Chiropractic for an evaluation.
Tenderness or swelling in a joint or muscle before or after an activity.
Numbness or tingling in an extremity.
Pain during range of motion.
Reduced range of motion or stiffness in a joint or unusual looseness from a prior injury.
Weakness in a muscle.
What to do to Help Prevent Sports Injuries:
Stretching. Recent studies suggest that excessive stretching prior to an event is unnecessary; however, stretching the muscles to insure ease of use through the expected range of motion and as a way to warm up the muscle is still highly recommended.
Warm up. Take some time to duplicate parts of the activity, such as a brief jog before a race, rotating the shoulders before pitching a ball, etc.
Ice before use. Recent studies have shown that icing a muscle or joint before warm up actually increases the blood supply to that muscle and joint during the warm up exercises.
Cool down when finished. Take 5 10 minutes to cool down, walk, jog, or do some light exercise before leaving the activity. A properly done cool down will provide your body with the following benefits:
Remove waste products such as lactic acid from your body.
Gradually lower your heart rate and respiration.
Help prevent muscle soreness.
Eating right not only helps you manage your weight but it can also help you to control your cholesterol level as well as help maintain your joints and build healthy muscles. Talk to your chiropractor about a diet program especially suited to your high activity needs.
Although sports injuries will always be inevitable, the proper care and management of both the injury and the athlete can get the athlete back to doing what he or she loves in less time and with less chance of future re injury. Always remember to talk with your Chiropractor before starting any sports or exercise program and if an injury does occur, use the RICE recommendations and call your chiropractor immediately.