A very common question I receive is “What do I do?”
Phone calls at the wee hours, text messages, all outlining a recent experience which resulted in a minor injury and being asked, what’s the best choice of action. It’s beautiful, it’s trusting, and I’d like to share this with you today.
Now, none of this is rocket science. However, in the middle of a trauma, even small ones, we sometimes forget that we haven’t tried everything. Please keep in mind that this is simple strategies that I have used both as a mom and in my area of expertise with recovery. None of this information should be used for self-diagnosis or replace the consult of a physician.
This easily could be a section with example after example. Let’s start with the common confusion of sprain vs. strain. A sprain is severe, it means that connective tissue of the bone or ligament, has suffered an injury which requires immediate medical attention and possible surgery. A strain can be anywhere from a pulled muscle to tendon which can vary from ice and rest, to a boot or cast. Without a proper diagnosis from a physician, you can’t know for sure.
An incident in sports, or the vacuum cleaner, went to bend down and ouch when you got up, overuse, carrying groceries, stepping off a curb wrong, would all fall under this category.
Ice. Wrap. Rest. OTC options would be my personal choice of action.
I sometimes get the couple hours to ones that last for days! Remember 90% of headaches are from dehydration, so if that is a possibility start there. Water filtered or purified is often devoid of any minerals which actually allow the water you drink to absorb. (minerals added for taste, does not count) “Sports drinks” use sodium as the hydration aspect of this sugar water. Best hydration is coconut water, pure, no added sugars. Coconut water contains a natural balance of magnesium, potassium. Another option is simply adding just a pinch of Himalayan sea salt. Companies out there actually charge considerably more for water that has been “infused” with natural hydration sources. Save the money and do it yourself. Spring water is best as a regular drinking water. Headaches can also be caused by overflow or underflow of blood circulation to the brain, overworked muscles in the neck can be the cause of this, but of course
if thought to be something more severe or experiencing other symptoms, then seek medical attention.
OTC. Laying down. Ice pack. Hot bath. (this one can be a risk and possibly make it worse when you don’t know the cause). Massage to neck muscles.
Spasms typically occur as a protective mechanism of the body. Something you’re trying to move is either too weak so it spasms (this can occur on the opposing muscle as well) or the body is trying to prevent an injury from occurring. Let use the example of the most common which would be a low back spasm. If you’re not sure what you’re experiencing, a spasm will typically mean immobilization and varying levels of discomfort. You’ll try to move a body part, but it won’t, or you start to move it and there’s a sharp stop in the movement. Muscles will be in mild to severe pain, of course, medical attention should be considered if it feels appropriate based on individual needs. Back on track. Lumbar spasm… Low back muscles in today’s culture usually mean weak and overworked muscles at the same time. You may wonder, how can that be? Sit down for 6-8 hours of the day in front of a computer and realize that those hours are being spent with those muscles in a lengthened position. You’re basically stretching them for giant segments of the day. If you did that for any other muscle in your body, it would be like spaghetti. Then you bend over at home to pick something up off the floor using those back muscles that really can’t hold the load(half your body weight + item being lifted + level of inertia). The same thing can happen in the gym too so don’t discredit that. Another very real possibility for a lumbar spasm would be the protective measure of the nerve. A bulging or herniated disk of the spine, particularly with a side bend and/or rotation movement, muscles can spasm as means to protect the nerve from becoming impinged and can remain in spasm for as long as the body feels necessary to protect itself from injury. Menstrual cramps also fall under this category.
Heat to relax the muscles. Epsom Salt Bath. OTC. Rest.
When in Doubt…
R.I.C.E. – Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.
Possible Options of self-home treatment for minor injuries
Aleve (Naproxen) works as both an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.
Advil(ibuprofen) pain reliever and anti-inflammatory when taking a dose over 800mg.
Tylenol best as a fever reducer and pain reliever and first choice for a pregnant woman.
Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt – I personally use about 4 cups in my bath if not more. If you don’t have sensitive skin then you really can’t overdose on the amount of salt in your bath water, if you do, it’ll make you poop.
Arm & Hammer. Alkalizes the water and can assist the Magnesium of the Salts to absorb better.
Essential oils. Pay attention to which are suitable to be on the skin, enjoy for the smell, further relaxation or for specific purposes.
TIP Tip: Best practice is to put salt and powder in the bottom of the tub with the essential oils on the Epsom salt before turning on the water. This will help the oils mix better and avoid them from sitting on the surface of the water. Keep this in mind… What hits the water first when you go to sit in the bath?
Ace Bandage – Limit movement, compression, support.
KT Tape – support, manipulate position to make more desirable.
Compression Socks – gentle to avoid/ limit swelling.
TIP Tip: My personal favorites…
Magnesium Malate – more than 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium, this particular form of magnesium is best for muscle. Muscle rejuvenation and proper use of energy.
Arnica – Hylands makes dissolving tablets that assist with muscle soreness and bruising.
Magnesium Gel – Magnesium Oil is actually the best for absorption, but it can ruin your clothes. Gel won’t! Ancient Minerals is the best, I won’t use anything other.