11 Dec What to do in an Acute Injury?
Last December while working out I deadlifted a heavier weight than usual…. and pinch!!! I immediately felt a intense twinge in my lower back. I knew straight away that this wasn’t normal and by the time I arrived home I wasn’t able to get out of my car.
That afternoon in clinic I received both chiropractic and acupuncture treatments which reduced my pain immediately. I then continued Acupuncture and Chiropractic care every second day over the next week, each time the pain reducing.
For many, an injury, sprain, strain or commonly known as “putting your back out” can occur when you lift too much weight, play a strenuous sport, or even bend or twist improperly during the course of a regular day. No matter the cause, the resulting ACUTE pain is due to inflammation of musculoskeletal structures and tissues such as the joints & muscle in the affected area.
SEEK TREATMENT & ADVICE
When in pain seek advice and treatment as soon as possible, the longer you leave it sometimes the longer it will take to address the issue. Firstly seek out your GP or Primary Care Practitioner including a Chiropractor to aid in diagnosis of the injury. Symptoms that need urgent medical care include;
- You cannot stand upright.
- Fever accompanies pain.
- Loss of bladder or bowel function or control
- Leg pain and/or weakness progressively worsens.
- Pain is relentless or worsens.
Then you can seek out more care via the form of Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine or Myotherapy. My personal preference is Acupuncture, but I am slightly biased. You can make bookings for our any of practitioners here;
TO ICE AN INJUR OR NOT TO ICE
Do not ice the injury. Icing injuries is recommended by many medical professionals but there is very little evidence to actually support the role of this widely held recommendation. In fact icing a soft tissue injury will reduce swelling and inflammation, which had been thought to aid in healing, BUT now researchers believe that inflammation is actually a necessary component of proper healing.
Inflammation stimulates the release of kinins and cytokines from damaged tissue is meant to increase vascular influx, which brings fibrinogen and platelets for hemostatis, leukocytes and monocytes to phagocytose necrotic debris, and fibroblasts needed for collagen and protein synthesis.
However if ice is helping with pain then you can go ahead and use it, if heat is helping with pain then go ahead and use it. We no longer stick the hard and fast rule of ice for acute pain and warm for chronic pain. Go with that feels best for you. If unsure seek advise.
PAINKILLERS TO TAKE OR NOT TO TAKE
It sometimes is useful to use over the counter anti-inflammatory pain killers including topical creams. However we must keep in mind that there is no evidence non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) improve the outcome of acute sports injuries or reduce swelling.
It is important to also note that some steroidal anti-inflammatories, such as cortisone, can in some cases inhibit the production of collagen and granulation tissue which actually can affect healing. Some painkiller medications can be highly addictive and should be avoided when possible.
Alternatively you can also consider some more natural approaches such as;
- ChinaMed – Sports injury
This formula is based on Die Da Wan (Pill Formula for Traumatic Injury) that was first recorded inthe Small Collection of Fine Formulas (liang fang ji ye) by Xie Yuan-qing, 1842. Formulas to treat traumatic injury have been used in China for several thousand years to treat injuries sustained in military combat as well as during martial arts training. Traditionally the principles of treatment centre on activating the Blood in order to assist in the breakdown and removal of damaged tissue and dead cells, and also to alleviate pain.
- Metagenics – Inflavonoid Intensive Care
This is a high strength Curcumin, Boswellia, White Willow back, Ginger, Quercetin mix that specifically targets acute inflammation and pain. Unlike other curcumin supplements this is specifically for Acute pain.
- Back & Sciatica Pain Tincture
This is a variant on the classic formula Du Huo Ji Sheng Wan (Du huo & Loranthus Formula),which was first recorded in ‘Prescriptions Worth a Thousand Gold Pieces for Emergencies’ (bei ji qian jin yao fang), by Sun Si-miao (late 7th Century). Made by our Chinese herbalists in the clinic. The formula has been modified to so that the focus of its action is on the back and lower body.
Where to find; Ask one of our Acupuncturist or Herbalist at the clinic
Want to find out more about our treatments?
ACUPUNCTURE FOR ACUTE INJURY
There are many different ways that Acupuncture can address and provide pain relief in Acute and Chronic Pain. Current research suggests that Acupuncture;
- Reduces inflammation by releasing vascular and immunomodulatory factors
- Aids in the bodies release of it’s own natural pain killers
- Reduces swelling and increases mobility while reducing stiffness
Acupuncture was, and still is, one of the primary means of quick healing for the martial arts. Specific acupuncture styles and techniques were developed to stop pain and dramatically increase recovery time. For more information on research please see our Acupuncture Injury & Pain Page Here
DON’T STOP MOVING
Another big mistake is to collapse onto a couch or bed. Rest again is outdated advise and current thought is that movement in fact can directly stimulates tissue healing by increasing blood flow into an area.
Inactivity and shutting the muscle down causes blood flow is restricted and tissue atrophy follows. In contrast, activity improves blood flow, which brings oxygen and removes metabolic waste.
We encourage immediate but gentle restoration of active range of motion with gradual introduction of functional activities. Movement and activity should not cause you extreme pain. So best to address any pain caused by movements with your health practitioner.
Movement, not rest!
Movement and slowly getting back to your lifestyle as quickly as possible also has a positive emotional effect.
Excluding fractures, cord, or catastrophic injuries, We advise that you get moving post injury and doing range of motion exercises as soon as possible.
- For foot and ankle injuries we recommend drawing the alphabet with the toes.
- For knees: stationary biking
- For shoulder injuries: Walking fingers up who wall or weighted pendulum
- For neck pain: rowing and ellipse machinese
- For back pain: walking, swimming, pilates and yoga.
- For lower limb fractures: water running and seated weights.
- For upper limb fractures: walking and the recumbent bike
- For wide range of injuries: Tai Chi
Want to know more? Book an appointment online with one of our practitioners
About the author
Lauren Surridge is the Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and owner of Balanced Life Health Care. To find out more about Lauren click here and to make an appointment to see Lauren at her clinic in Ferntree Gully click here