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DIY: Injury Prevention and Healing

The Ultimate DIY: Injury Prevention and Healing

True story – after trying the HCG diet (and losing 10 lbs and 12% body fat!) I started seeing more muscle tone and went a little crazy…well a lot crazy – I signed up for a half marathon. Here’s the kicker – I don’t like running. Unless it was after a soccer ball, an incredible sale, or a food truck, I’ve really never been a fan of running.

To help me cope with my temporary lapse in sanity, our awesome patients have been giving me tips and programs for training for a half-marathon. I’m doing the Geist Half & 5K with Team Luke in May, giving me 12 weeks to train, which is about the minimum amount of time recommended for a novice. You may not have signed up for a half, but if you’re like most people who have come down with a gnarly case of spring fever, you’re probably itching to go outside and enjoy some warm weather activities. Before you go out and enjoy hiking, gardening, or going out on the lake, keep in mind:

Injuries can happen to anyone, at any time, doing anything

There are a couple major ways to prevent injuries. One of my teachers used to say, “proper preparation prevents poor performance”, which applies to practically everything! Remember to warm-up, stretch, cool-down, and stretch, regardless of how miniscule the activity might seem. How many of you have tweaked your back or neck while taking out spring storage? Simple stretches can be done every day, and help increase blood flow to the muscles, and relieve stress, not to mention keep your cat-like reflexes sharp. Always consult your physician before beginning any fitness program, including a stretching regimen. Ask Dr. Nall if Fulford’s 7 Daily Exercises would be a good fit for you.

Proper form is another key factor in injury prevention.
Back and neck aches can often be prevented with proper lifting mechanics and proper posture. This safety link breaks down proper lifting into six short steps with tips, like:
• Clear you path before proceeding to lift (so you aren’t contorting your body in uncomfortable positions that could lead to an accident)
• Be honest with your capabilities – you will not look like a macho man if you are lying on the floor because you threw your back out!

Good posture promotes better health, and is a concern for everyone, regardless of age, gender, or job. Another cause of injuries are repetitive use injuries, like tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, or jumper’s knee. If you are engaging in a new activity, it would be wise to consult a professional with experience to help you learn proper technique and decrease your chance of injury. For example, I’m hoping to catch a (free) Good Form Running clinic offered at local running stores, such as Runners Forum.

Of course, always use proper safety gear, like helmets or knee pads.

Healing of some injuries can be impaired or worsened without medical attention
If you’re reading this, that probably means you ignored my preventative advice. Lucky for you, I have some great guidelines to follow if you are injured! Sometimes you need to see the doc, sometimes you don’t. How do you know whether you can suck up the pain or if you should submit yourself to the healing hands of Dr. Nall?

If you experience major local swelling, significant bruising, or point tenderness, your injury could be a sprain, strain, or fracture. If a fracture is suspected, visiting your physician for an evaluation or x-ray order would be prudent and prevent improper healing of the fracture. A sprain, which is a stretch or tear of a ligament (connects bone to bone) is usually caused by direct trauma knocking a joint out of position. A strain is an injury to the muscle or tendon (connects muscle to bone), and is typically caused as a result of overuse or overstretching. If you know, or suspect, you have a sprain or strain, an injection directly to the affected area can work to get you back in action faster than you can say ‘Osteopath’.

Sharp, shooting pains, especially pain affecting your everyday function or routine, should definitely be checked out by a physician. If ignored, these types of problems usually worsen, and tend to do so rapidly. Not all pain requires a procedure. Dr. Nall has extensive training in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT), which can help with a myriad of pain issues.

However, not all injuries warrant medical attention

One of the easiest things you can do immediately after an injury which can provide some (and perhaps sufficient) relief is to RICE it!
R: Rest seems like it would come naturally with an injury, but let’s face facts – it doesn't  Trying to push through an injury to finish that last lap, give your kids a piggy back, or put that last box away is not worth the risk of causing further injury. This might be the only time I tell you to be sit or lay down and do nothing, so take it!
I: Icing the site of injury for 20 minutes every 1.5 to two hours immediately after the injury can decrease the amount of swelling and bruising in the area by closing small blood vessels. It can also have a calming effect on nerves, decreasing the sensation of pain. Tips: use a towel or pillowcase to avoid frostbite, or make an ice bath in a bucket or bowl for injuries to the hands and feet.
C: Compression works to prevent edema (swelling) at and around the area of injury. Excessive swelling can result in increased pain, decreased function, and slower healing. An elastic (ACE) bandage should be wrapped tightly enough so that the bandage doesn’t shift with movement, but loosely enough for two fingers to slide through.
E: Elevation is another way to reduce swelling. Elevate the injured area at or above the level of the heart, and for the double whammy, do it while icing.

Now you’re all set to get out there and carpe diem! Unless you’re RICE-ing.

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Village Osteopath
15510 Herriman Blvd
Noblesville, IN 46060
(317) 491-5272
(317) 324-3183 (fax)