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If you have just suffered a traumatic injury, the following general ‘RICE’ advice may help:
Rest – rest the injured area for the first 24 hours if possible. Gentle movement (within your pain free range) is advisable; but full weight bearing on a sprained ankle for example should be avoided. For back strain, alternating between lying down and gentle walking can be of great benefit. If the strain is minor, keeping active is vital for your recovery.
Ice* – apply an ice pack or cold compress to the area. Only do so for 10 minutes at a time – any more, and you could cause more damage. It is best to protect the skin with a towel or Vaseline – do not apply the ice directly to the skin. Wrapping some ice-blocks in a wet towel and crushing the ice and applying this to the inured part is the most practical. A pack of frozen peas is a good substitute,
Compression – a supportive compression strapping can be applied, using crepe bandage or tubigrip. It must not be so tight as to cut off the circulation – and do allow for swelling to occur. – raising the injured (and possibly swollen) part above your heart level will help limit the swelling, and aid drainage.
* Many people find that heat is comforting. If a muscle is tight or has gone into spasm, heat is very beneficial. However, if you have actually torn tissues and there is bleeding inside, a bruise for example, heat will exacerbate this – hence the advice to use ice in these instances. Paracetamol is the painkiller of choice – asprin and neurofen can aggravate asthma, digestive problems and slow down healing. Do make sure you only take the recommended dose, and do not mix with other medicines (including cold remedies).
For a non-pharmacological alternative, try arnica (either as a cream, or tablets). If there is a lot of swelling or bruising, you suspect a fracture or the pain is unbearable, you should seek medical help. Visit your osteopath as soon as you are mobile, for a full evaluation and advice.
As part of the treatment plan osteopaths may use some padding to relieve pain. A typical condition is metatasalgia (pain in the ball of the foot). It is possible to make a piece of support that can be taken on and off.