Immediately after an injury is the best time to begin guiding the healing process in the most efficient way possible. The first thing to recognize is if the injury is a medical emergency or not. If it is a medical emergency (excessive bleeding, a head injury, broken bones. Etc.) then going to an emergency room is the best plan. If it is not an emergency, then the application of first aid is the initial step. For injuries with no large breaks in the skin, to any joints or the back, controlling the first three days of inflammation and pain is the next step. At Vital-Balance, we advise that managing the acute stage of the condition at home for the first 3 days is best for the patient and for us. The reason is that the inflammation has to be brought under control effectively before we can start to help managing the healing process. During these first three days, this must be the primary goal.
In the medical field we use an acronym to describe how to manage acute injury for the first three days by the patient, in their home. Below is an image that describes this process:
- Protect – This is self-explanatory. Move yourself to an area where no further injury to the area is possible and brace/bandage/stabilize if possible.
- Rest – This would seem to be self-explanatory as well. However, many people have very busy lives and taking the time to rest to heal properly does not seem to be important. It is important. This will increase the chances of proper healing, which is important to not have problems in the area later in life.
- Ice – This is very easy to do wrong. It has to be done with discipline and done correctly to be the most effective. Ice is applied to the area with a piece of cloth between the ice and the skin to prevent an ice burn. It is left on the area for a minimum of 15 minutes and a maximum of 20 minutes, no longer. If it is left for more than 20 minutes, the body will sense the area going into hypothermia, and this will bring more inflammation to the area. The exact opposite of what we are trying to do. In the acute stage, inflammation is to be reduced and controlled. Icing must be done this way, every 2-3 waking hours during the first three days after the injury.
- Compression – This is most easily done if the injury is to an extremity like the arm or the leg. It can also be done to the back and neck with an athletic or ACE bandage. This also helps decrease the swelling and inflammation while helping to stabilize the tissues in the area that are damaged.
- Elevation – This is also easiest to do with an extremity. Raising the area above the heart helps drain inflammation from the area.
- Diagnosis by a health Professional – This is the last step. This is when you come to Vital-Balance to be examined, diagnosed and treated to be sure that the injury does not grow into a chronic problem in the future.
If all of these steps are done methodically and properly by the patient, the injury will heal and stabilize in the best way possible. Then we at Vital-Balance, will assist in your full recovery. Therefore, the likelihood of it effecting you in the future is minimized so that you will stay strong and healthy to live the lifestyle that you love. Take care of your body and it will carry you far!