Injuries - Immediate Care
Serious pathologies are rare – however if these conditions are present, you should seek medical advice from your GP or Healthline – free on 0800 611 116:
Escalating pain or worsening symptoms not responding to self management or medication, fever or weight loss, night pain preventing sleep, unable to lie flat.
Visit the Emergency Department or phone 111 in the event of: chest pain or tightness lasting several minutes, especially combined with shortness of breath, nausea or fatigue. Difficulty breathing, severe burns or bleeding, or bleeding that won’t stop. Sudden weakness or difficulty talking, fainting or unconsciousness. Saddle area numbness, pins and needles in both arms or both legs, sudden loss of bladder or bowel function.
If in doubt - get it checked out!
If you are finding it difficult to weight or move a particular joint after a traumatic injury, go to the Emergency Department and have it checked out - fractures and soft tissue ruptures are best treated quickly - don’t just hope for the best.
We can help recovery at this point by ‘PRICE’:
Prevent further damage, early use of slings and splints can be useful. Avoid using heat or massage at this point as it will increase bloodflow and swelling to the area, the injury needs to settle and allow the production of scar tissue.
Initially avoid using the injured site. Gentle, pain free movements will reduce stiffening and encourage lymphatic drainage.
Apply an ice pack or bag of frozen peas, wrapped in a wet tea towel for 10 to 15 minutes. For hands and feet, try a tub of cold water with ice cubes in it. Repeat every few hours while still swollen.
Apply a stretch-bandage to control swelling and add support. Not too tight – check for numbness and loss of colour, loosen at night.
Above heart level to reduce swelling and encourage lymphatic drainage. If it’s comfortable try a little gentle movement – this ball rolling method is superb to drain swollen ankles and knees – works really well post op too…
Avoid using heat or massage at this point as it will increase bloodflow and swelling to the area, the injury needs to settle and allow the production of scar tissue.
Further treatment depends on how severe your injury is…
Less severe injuries should see pain and swelling settling within two to three days, allowing further pain-free movement, returning to full range, strength and normal use over the next few weeks. In this phase I like the approach of ‘3/10 for effort’ – short little bursts of light movement which is not too painful. Doing this little and often reassures our nervous system that things are ok. Spend some time breathing long and slow from the belly and finding a comfortable position where the body can relax. ( Read ‘The Nervous System and Breath’ and ‘Spine Care.’ Healing occurs best when we give the mind and body the cues it wants to hear – ‘restore and nourish’ not ‘defend.’ If not: seek a professional opinion on how best to rehabilitate the injury and structure a return to your normal activities. This is where pain can establish itself into a pattern and become ingrained with our movements, putting more strain on the joints and muscles: it needs the right input to settle and allow things to heal and re-balance.