Ellen Teeter, AP, DOM
Five Strategies for Sprains, Strains and Pains
1. Avoid injury when possible! Being aware of proper body mechanics can help avoid many of the strains and pains of increased activity.
Having a regular morning tai chi or yoga practice can connect you to your body while gently opening up joints and ligaments, warming the muscles and in classes you can learn how to target problem areas. (Alternative Therapy offers both yoga and tai chi classes to help you get in touch with your joints and muscles!)
2. Get proper nutrition. Eating a balanced diet of well cooked whole grains, lots of lightly cooked vegetables and small amounts of animal proteins gives the body the building blocks for repair. Eat a wide variety of foods with plenty of colors, textures, and flavors to help get in all the super nutrition you need. For more on "Chinese Dietary Therapy" click here.
Food provides the building blocks for your body to repair itself at night. If you are eating a lot of processed foods, fats, sugars, flour products, corn products and potatoes then you are getting plenty of fuel to keep going during the day but nothing to repair and restore the body at night.
Poor nutrition catches up to us when we are injured with slow healing and chronic pain. Why do 2 people with similar injuries have such different healing rates? The one whose body has the right nutrition and good circulation will heal faster than the person who is deconditioned and eats poorly. Chinese medicine along with acupuncture and herbs helps restore the body's self healing capacity.
Nothing truly replaces the benefits of good nutrition
and the right exercise.
3. Get treatment as soon as possible . Any injury should be looked at ASAP. If there's any question that it might be broken get checked out!
If it's not broken, get treatment in order to speed recovery and prevent long term problems. If not completely resolved old trauma can revisit you 10-20 years later.
Chinese medicine has a long history of treating trauma using acupuncture, pastes, plasters and ointments. The initial acute phase is treated with heat clearing, dampness resolving herbs which actually take the swelling down without the use of ice! As the stages of recovery progress different herbs are used to continue promoting healing.
4. Heat or Ice? The judicious use of ice can help reduce swelling immediately after an injury occurs, but cold interferes with long term healing. Keep a Chinese sprain ointment in your medical chest, wrap the affected area overnight and get acupuncture the next day. I've used sprain ointments routinely and you can see swelling go down within hours.
Use gentle warmth for short periods of time along with herb packs to encourage circulation. Good circulation into and out of the area promotes healing.
5. Give it a rest! If there's pain after an injury, there's no gain to keep using the affected area. Rest the injured area, treat it with acupuncture and herbs and you will quickly be back in the game!
Practice "safe" medicine...Chinese medicine is not a "one size fits all" medicine, it is custom tailored to the individual.
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