We all know the benefits of regular exercise, it can strengthen your heart, bones and joints and reduce stress for starters. Summertime brings an increased focus on exercise, and for many adults, that means they are doing a lot of things they don't necessarily do year round. Whether it's taking up jogging, hitting balls, running bases, or spending some time honing water-skiing skills, if you jump right in the risk for injury is there. Sprains and strains are common, and the ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows and yes, your spine, can all take a beating while you are moving into a more active lifestyle.
While injury prevention may be the preferred course of action when it comes to sports and exercise programs, what we intend and what comes about doesn't always line up. No matter how well prepared you are, accidents and injuries can and do still happen. So the question is, what should you do if your activities lead to sprains or strains?
Rest – taking some time for the stages of healing to occur without further injuring the tissues is very, very important. During the rest phase, our bodies repair the damage from participation, training and conditioning so that we can recover. If we don’t rest the injured area, further breakdown occurs, and that could lead to more serious injuries.
Ice – is without a doubt the most important step in reducing swelling, in addition to the analgesic effect of the cold. Ice packs can be applied for 20 minutes, followed by one hour off to warm up to body temperature for improved therapeutic benefits. Icing should be repeated, as necessary, for at least 24 to 72 hours post-injury.
Elevate – elevating your injured area will aid in reducing swelling to help heal faster. By elevating the body part above the level of the heart, you promote the drainage of fluids from the inflamed tissues and reduce the damage from overloading damaged tissues.
Ultimately, I recommend a visit to Carlson Chiropractic Center before you begin a new sport or work out routine. During the course of your evaluation and, if needed, treatment, we can look at your specific musculoskeletal health and determine the right type of exercise and activity you should start with, and how you can increase that in a safe, healthy way. A thorough understanding of proper movement and exercise techniques in the beginning can go a long way toward preventing injuries.