Self Care- R.I.C.E.
There is a relatively standard self care protocol for most of the other overuse types of injuries. This protocol can be helpful prior to getting a professional opinion and involves the following:
- Rest– Generally no more than 48 hours of rest and/or immobilization is needed, depending on the severity of the injury. In most cases, the sooner the person becomes active after an injury, the more rapid is the recovery. In fact, long-term immobilization can sometimes be harmful to recovery. Your doctor of chiropractic will guide this process, as too early a return to activity, choosing the wrong type of activity, or excessive activity can be problematic.
- Ice– Ice can be helpful with pain reduction and tissue healing. Remember to have a cloth barrier about the width of a t-shirt to keep from damaging skin. Apply for no more than 20 minutes every hour.
- Compression -Compression of the area may reduce the amount of swelling from the injury. Off-the-shelf sleeves are easy to use, yet improper application of wraps or sleeves can cause dangerous complications.
- Elevation– Elevation of the injured arm or leg above the level of the heart is thought to be helpful in reducing swelling.
Recent research has demonstrated that some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may actually slow the healing process by restricting the body’s natural healing mechanisms, so they should be used sparingly and never before exercise. Anti-inflammatory enzymes and omega-3 supplements are better options.