How to avoid strains and sprains

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR BODY -

New Zealan­ders are a pretty ac­tive bunch and par­tic­i­pate in many sport­ing and recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties. But, we have a lot of in­juries too that can cost a huge amount – in pain and suf­fer­ing, time off work, loss of in­come, med­i­cal costs, etc. So it makes good eco­nomic and med­i­cal sense, first, to pre­vent sprains, strains and other soft tis­sue in­juries and, se­cond, to treat them as soon as they hap­pen and man­age them for as long as in­ter­ven­tion is nec­es­sary.

‘‘Soft tis­sue in­juries usu­ally are due to mus­cles, lig­a­ments and car­ti­lage (that ‘blan­ket’ and pro­tect bone) be­ing bruised, stretched or bro­ken, ‘‘ say Self Care Phar­ma­cists who see ath­letes com­pet­ing at the high­est level, as well as see­ing many peo­ple in­volved in sports just so­cially, be­ing in­jured and side­lined from ac­tiv­i­ties.’’ Ways to avoid in­jury in­clude: Strap­ping with sports tape the ar­eas prone to in­jury

Do­ing warm-up, and warm-down, ex­er­cises

Grad­u­ally build­ing up mus­cle strength through train­ing – no sud­den launch­ing into vig­or­ous ex­er­cise at the first in­stance

Eat­ing more foods high in car­bo­hy­drate dur­ing heavy train­ing

STOP­PING the ac­tiv­ity if stiff or in pain dur­ing the ac­tiv­ity

Be­ing re­laxed be­fore any ac­tiv­ity – be­ing tense will make mus­cles and ten­dons tight and in­crease their risk of in­jury dur­ing ac­tiv­ity.

‘‘How­ever, if you do in­jure your­self there are sim­ple first aid man­age­ment prac­tices you can in­sti­gate im­me­di­ately to pre­vent fur­ther in­jury, and other prac­tices that will speed re­cov­ery, ‘‘ say Self Care Phar­ma­cists.

‘‘We can ad­vise you about th­ese tech­niques, and pro­vide suit­able strap­ping prod­ucts and pain re­lief medicines.’’

Af­ter in­jury, stop the ac­tiv­ity to pro­tect the dam­aged area. Self Care phar­ma­cists ad­vise peo­ple to im­me­di­ately carry out the RICE method, and con­tinue for the next 48 hours. By Rest­ing the area, ap­ply­ing Ice (for 20 min­utes max­i­mum at a time) to con­trol pain, al­ter­nat­ing with gen­tle Com­pres­sion to the area to re­duce bleed­ing and swelling, and El­e­vat­ing the in­jured limb also to re­duce swelling, the af­fected area has a much bet­ter chance of avoid­ing fur­ther dam­age and re­cov­er­ing quickly.

Re­peat the ice and al­ter­nat­ing com­pres­sion treat­ment ev­ery few hours for the first 48 hours. How­ever, within the first 24 hours af­ter RICE is ini­ti­ated, the area can be moved gen­tly.

‘‘In ad­di­tion to the RICE in­for­ma­tion, peo­ple are ad­vised to avoid HARM­ful fac­tors – Heat (in­clud­ing hot wa­ter bot­tles), Al­co­hol, Run­ning and Mas­sage – for the first 72 hours af­ter in­jury.’’

Phar­ma­cists also can ad­vise if the ini­tial in­jury needs to be re­ferred to doc­tors for X-rays and fol­low-up, or can be man­aged by the peo­ple them­selves.

Talk to your Self Care phar­ma­cist about anti-in­flam­ma­tory medicine to take or to ap­ply to the in­jured area. They can guide you and ad­vise on how much to take and when, for your spe­cific in­jury.

Preven­tion is, how­ever, the best man­age­ment so check out the site www.sports­ for all the rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion on in­jury preven­tion. Pre­pared by Phar­macy Self Care, Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal So­ci­ety of NZ Inc, Grand Ar­cade Tower, level 10, 16-20 Wil­lis St, Welling­ton 6142.

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