Chances are we all have experienced the aches and pains of a preventable injury at some time on our life. But, what do we do now that we have the tendonitis, the bursitis, the muscle spasms that just seem to hang around to interfere with our tennis, golf, horseback riding? Many patients come in when the ibuprofen, the muscle relaxers, and /or the OTC (over the counter medications) seem to lose their effectiveness. What started as an acute injury may in fact now have become a chronic injury, with the chronic inflammation, pain, decreased ranges of motion, and with potential long term damaging side effects.
First, get a diagnosis. Have a health care professional examine and diagnose the injury at the onset. What may feel like a muscle spasm in the low back may in fact be a herniated disc. Or vice versa. What may feel like excruciating “nerve” pain may be due to a muscle spasm.
Secondly, check out all your treatment options. In some cases, medications such as temporary use of anti-inflammatories, and analgesics may be indicated. Other options may include acupuncture, ultrasound, physiotherapy modalities, specific exercises, and surgery. These therapies can be extremely helpful in decreasing pain, and inflammation, and restoring normal ranges of motion in the joints and muscles. Often these methods when used at the same time improve healing time.
Third, set up and follow a treatment plan. Patients often ask how long will it take to heal? How many treatments of acupuncture and/or ultrasound do I need? How long do I have to take the medicine? It depends on how long you have had the pain. What the diagnosis is? And what have you been doing/and or taking to relieve it or to aggravate it. Unfortunately most people seek medical care only after nothing THEY do helps it. The recovery of an injury most often can be determined by a few things, including the medical attention within the first 24-48 hours, and the person’s ability to heal. For example, patient after patient has come in complaining that at first the “hot tub” felt great, and the next morning they couldn’t get out of bed. This treatment is rarely successful in an acute sprain/strain type injury.
Following a treatment plan from a trusted health care professional often results in the fastest recovery with the least amount of residual pain, and other symptoms. I know from personal experience it is very difficult to hear, “no skiing, biking, golf etc. for the next x amount of weeks.” However difficult it is to avoid favorite past-times, isn’t it more difficult to be injured? Compliance of a treatment plan, especially when it involves doing, or not doing something we do not want to hear is difficult.
Lastly, being preventative does pay off. Let this be part of the plan following treatment. Preventative measures may include specific exercise, protein supplementation, glucosamine sulphate, chondroitin sulphate, calcium/magnesium, MSM, and other vitamin and mineral supplementation. Regular acupuncture, chiropractic, physiotherapy, and/or massage may also be indicated. Also, rest
from physical exertion allows the body to heal and recover.
We only have one body. Let us take care of it as we enjoy our lives and our journey.