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How do you manage an acute injury?

Soft tissue injuries such as muscle strains and joint sprains are one of the most common presentations we see in the clinic and for those who participate in regular sport, gym or training, they can be incredibly frustrating. If you have injured yourself in the past you most likely would have heard of the RICE protocol – rest, ice, compression and elevation. Whilst this may address acute stage rehab, it fails to address any form of rehabilitation following the first 24-72 hours post injury.

This RICE system has been integrated as the first line of defense for soft tissue injuries for as long as we can remember, but new research has shown that sometimes all soft tissue injuries need is a bit of PEACE & LOVE…

For acute stage rehab, instead of RICE, try giving your injury some PEACE:

Protection – avoid any excessive or aggravating movements during the initial stage of healing.

Elevation – as often as possible, keep the injured body part above your heart, this reduces swelling and allows unwanted fluid to drain away from that area.

Avoid anti-inflammatories – following an injury you want the body to perform its natural inflammatory process in order to promote healing. Taking anti-inflammatory medication or utilising ice may reduce pain in the short term, but will slow down this natural process and can actually delay healing.

Compression – using a compression bandage can assist with reducing unwanted, excessive swelling.

Education – it is important to us that we educate our patients to properly understand their condition, as well as increase their knowledge surrounding the benefits of taking an active approach to treatment. We will help set a realistic return to play goal for our patient and curate an individualised approach to treatment and management.

+ After the initial stage has passed, your injury needs some LOVE:

Load – incorporating load and returning to normal functioning should be integrated into daily life as soon as tolerable. Introducing the ideal level of load as early as possible will assist with the recovery of your injury. Your osteopath will curate an individualised rehab plan based on your signs and symptoms to achieve optimal load and get you back activity as quick as possible.

Optimism – many patients who present with injuries tend to catastrophise their conditions and/ or may be fearful of how their injury may impact their day to day lives. Psychosocial factors have been shown to be a barrier to recovery, so one of our main goals in the clinic is to restore a positive outlook within our patients and set them an achievable goal and recovery date to work towards.

Vascularisation – aerobic activity such as brisk walking, swimming and cycling activates the cardiovascular system and assists with promoting blood flow and recovery to the injured area. Not only does it help aid recovery, but pain free aerobic activity can also be a great way to maintain fitness and motivation if you are unable to complete your usual training due to injury.

Exercise – targeted exercises involving the injured body part have been shown to not only promote healing for that particular body part, but also prevent re-injury by reinstating mobility and strength. Your osteopath may also incorporate exercises that target surrounding muscles or joints into your rehab program if they believe weakness or poor functioning in those areas may have contributed to your injury.

To find out more information or to book an appointment with one of our physicians, please call reception on 9738 1443 or book online through our website Written by Dr Kayla Betheras


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