by Dr. Robert Boyd
Injury can strike at any time and addressing the problem quickly can prevent it from lingering for weeks, months or even years. Whether it is a car accident, slip outside or “weekend warrior” sports injury, the injury needs to be thoroughly investigated to prevent those pains from becoming chronic.
1. First things first, a thorough work-up
Many doctors today are barely using physical exam with their patients, even when they are presenting with pain. As someone who suffered chronic back pain for years, I went to many specialists and rarely did one of them perform a thorough physical exam, much less an orthopedic test. Orthopedic tests can quickly and effectively determine if an injury is muscular, neurological and/or structural, and determine the exact structures affected. Most importantly, they are done easily during a routine office visit. Sometimes, more thorough testing, such as X-Rays, CT’s or MRI’s, are needed to exactly elucidate what is occurring. It is important to have these tests performed if necessary to determine the underlying issue.
2. Provide the nutrients to rebuild and recover
After the injury has been properly diagnosed, many patients are just provided pain relievers or steroids to red
uce inflammation. But what about actually promoting tissue recovery? After all, inflammation is the bodies initial response to injury and is actually a critical first step in the healing process. Too much inflammation can definitely a bad thing, but completely halting the process will hinder recovery in the long-term. After the initial injury, its critical to begin taking the raw cofactors that your body needs to begin rebuilding and rehabbing the affected tissues.
Depending on the type of injury – which can be nerve, muscle, bone, cartilage, ligaments, discs, etc. – there is a specific approach to be taken to help the affected tissues recover. Using this approach effectively can cut down injury recovery time dramatically.
3. Find the right type of therapy for your injury
Depending on the type of injury, a wide variety of therapies can be indicated to help with the recovery process. In addition to relieving pain, therapies should also be helping the tissue to actually recover. Some of the therapies that can be used things are cold laser therapy, PIR (post-isometric relaxation) stretching, physical manipulation, hydrotherapy, hot/cold packs, acupuncture and much more.
A word about prevention…
The essential last step is to prevent injury relapse or new injury from occurring. Of course, it is impossible to predict and prevent every injury. However, we can build the body up to be as robust and adaptable as possible, which can help with preventing avoidable injuries. Simple things like posture modification, spinal assessment, daily stretching, yoga, exercise and reducing overall inflammation can prevent injury relapse from occurring. Specific exercises to rehabilitate and strengthen the affected area are always indicated and recommended based on the type of injury.
Naturopathic medicine has much to offer to get you out of pain and on the road to recovery. No one deserves to live in pain and the naturopathic approach can get you out of it…fast.