I come before you today writing this in part for myself. Why do you ask? I have an old rib injury that started when I was 16 years old. I was sitting in a chair, laughing really hard and turned in my chair and BOOM. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move, my darling friends around me at the time were trying to make light of the situation and tried to make me feel better but it hurt to laugh. That day was the first time that I had a chiropractic adjustment, in the hallway of a public business, and that chiropractor is still someone I seek for treatment multiple times each year, 18 years later.
So, what do you do when you have an injury? This is often one of the most valuable things I think that clients learn while they’re working with me because it is wisdom they can continue for themselves should an injury occur in the future, or they can extend this wisdom to family or friends. Let’s cover some things!
What do you do in the first 24 hours of an injury?
The commonly known RICE has been proven, disproven, and then proven again.
See the human body has a process that it works through with an injury, so we want to do what we can to help without interrupting the body’s natural healing process.
How do we do that?
First ICE. Ice will decrease inflammation and increase blood flow to an area, both of which will help with healing. Do not use heat unless you know the internal of the injury, since heat Adds to inflammation.
Support it. Rest may very well be called for but not always possible, therefore the primary goal is to be mindful of your movements, engage your core which supports every part of your body(even an ankle), try your best to support an area and limit unnecessary movement of the affected area. The goal in supporting the healing process is to keep the effected area in a neutral position. Neutral spine, an aligned knee to hip to ankle, natural placement of the shoulder, etc.
Relax. Your mind body connection, matters. Often people freak out, stress because they ‘can’t handle this right now’. Know that this is your body’s way of telling you to slow down and may in fact be a forced way of making it happen. Whether the injury occurred during a sporting event or a simple everyday movement, there’s a reason its happening. Use this as an opportunity rather than a hinderance.
“This is temporary”, I can’t tell you how many low days I’ve had to hold onto this fact.
Also, drink lots of water, swelling and inflammation come from your lymphatic system and the ability to replenish with clean substance is absolutely beneficial.
What to avoid in the first 24 hours of an injury?
Do not immediately decide that now is the time to get a massage. Massage while beneficial as a preventative and maintenance measure is not to be used in the first 24 hours of a new injury. Massage will interrupt the body’s natural healing process; it is actually recommended to wait 72 hours before a massage with a new injury.
Do not drink alcohol and be sure to limit simple sugars. Both of these cause inflammation in the body on a good day. So, if you’re injured you probably have enough and its not going to serve you to have either.
Do not exercise the same as you did when you weren’t injured or try a whole new program (it’s a balance). It may be tempting to do yoga or Pilates with a new injury as the thought may be that it is lower impact, however, It’s not recommended to try something completely new if you don’t know how your body will respond. In the same you can not expect your body to go through the same HITT program you did prior to a brand-new injury. It’s not about losing the progress you’ve made, its simply about being smart with the healing process and making sure you’re not causing more harm than good.
This is temporary<3