Early Injury Treatment
What to do the First Few Days Post-Injury
Acute Injury Treatment
Rest from painful exercise or a movement is essential in the early injury stage. We call this active rest. “No pain. No gain.” does not apply in most cases. The rule of thumb is – don’t do anything that reproduces your pain for the initial two or three days. After that, you need to get it moving or other problems will develop.
If you are unsure what to do, please contact your physiotherapist for injury-specific advice.
Ice or Heat?
Ice is preferred for the initial two or three days post-injury. Apply ice for 20 minutes each two to three hours for the first few days until the “heat” comes out of the injury. Ice should also help to reduce your pain and swelling in traumatic soft tissue injuries, such as ligament sprains, muscle tears or bruising.
It is preferable to avoid heat (and heat rubs) in the first 48 hours of injury. The heat encourages bleeding, which could be detrimental if used too early.
Once the “heat” has come out of your injury, heat packs can be used to stimulate blood flow. We recommend 20 minute applications a few times a day to increase the blood flow and hasten your healing rate.
Heat will also help your muscles relax and ease your pain. Heat Wheat Packs are an excellent home solution for a multitude of conditions.
Not Sure What to Do?
If you’re not sure what to do, please contact your physiotherapist to specifically discuss your situation.
Should You Use a Compressive Bandage or Support?
Yes. If it is possible to apply a compressive bandage or elastic support to the injury, it will help to control swelling and bleeding in the first few days. In most cases, the bandage/support will also help to support the injury as the new scar tissue is laid down. This should help to reduce your pain.
Some injuries will benefit from more support such as a brace or rigid strapping tape. Please contact your physiotherapist if you are uncertain what to do next.
Elevation of an injury in the first few days is very helpful. Think where your injury is and where your heart is. Gravity will encourage swelling to settle at the lowest point. Try to rest your injury above your heart. Obviously some injuries are impossible or it would be detrimental to elevate, so please use your common sense and be guided by your pain.
When to Start Treatment?
In most cases, “the early bird gets the worm”. Researchers have found that intervention of physiotherapy treatment for acute soft tissue injuries within a few days has many benefits.
Prompt Treatment Benefits include:
- Relieving your pain quicker via joint mobility techniques, soft tissue massage, electrotherapy etc
- Improving your scar tissue quality using techniques to guide the direction it forms
- Getting you back to sport or work quicker through faster healing rates
- Loosening or strengthening of your injured region with individually prescribed exercises and techniques
- Improving your performance when you do return to sport, work or simply daily life
- Correct any biomechanical faults that may be affecting your movement, technique or predisposing you to injury
What if You do Nothing?
Research tells us that injuries left untreated do take longer to heal and have lingering pain. They are also more likely to recur and leave you with:
- abnormal scar tissue formation
- joint stiffness
- muscle weakness
It’s important to remember that symptoms lasting longer than three months become habitual and are much harder to solve. The sooner you get on top of your symptoms the better your outcome.
What is Physiotherapy Treatment?
Physiotherapists help people affected by illness, injury or disability through exercise, manual joint therapy, soft tissue techniques education and advice. Physiotherapists maintain physical health, help patients to manage pain and prevent disease for people of all ages. Physiotherapists help to encourage pain-relief, injury recovery, enabling people to stay playing a sport, working or performing activities of daily living while assisting them to remain functionally independent.
There is a multitude of different physiotherapy treatment approaches.
Acute & Sub-Acute Injury Management
Hands-On Physiotherapy Techniques
Your physiotherapist's training includes hands-on physiotherapy techniques such as:
- Joint Mobilisation (gentle joint gliding techniques)
- Joint Manipulation
- Physiotherapy Instrument Mobilisation (PIM)
- Minimal Energy Techniques (METs)
- Soft Tissue Techniques
Your physiotherapist has skilled training. Physiotherapy techniques have expanded over the past few decades. They have researched, upskilled and educated themselves in a spectrum of allied health skills. These skills include techniques shared with other healthcare practitioners. Professions include exercise physiologists, remedial massage therapists, osteopaths, acupuncturists, kinesiologists, chiropractors and occupational therapists, just to name a few.
Your physiotherapist is a highly skilled professional who utilises strapping and taping techniques to prevent and assist injuries or pain relief and function.
Alternatively, your physiotherapist may recommend a supportive brace.
Acupuncture and Dry Needling
Many physiotherapists have acquired additional training in the field of acupuncture and dry needling to assist pain relief and muscle function.
Physiotherapists have been trained in the use of exercise therapy to strengthen your muscles and improve your function. Physiotherapy exercises use evidence-based protocols where possible as an effective way that you can solve or prevent pain and injury. Your physiotherapist is highly-skilled in the prescription of the "best exercises" for you and the most appropriate "exercise dose" for you depending on your rehabilitation status. Your physiotherapist will incorporate essential components of pilates, yoga and exercise physiology to provide you with the best result. They may even use Real-Time Ultrasound Physiotherapy so that you can watch your muscles contract on a screen as you correctly retrain them.
- Muscle Stretching
- Core Exercises
- Strengthening Exercises
- Balance Exercises
- Proprioception Exercises
- Real-Time Ultrasound Physiotherapy
- Swiss Ball Exercises
Biomechanical assessment, observation and diagnostic skills are paramount to the best treatment. Your physiotherapist is a highly skilled health professional. They possess superb diagnostic skills to detect and ultimately avoid musculoskeletal and sports injuries. Poor technique or posture is one of the most common sources of a repeat injury.
Aquatic water exercises are an effective method to provide low bodyweight exercises.
Sports physio requires an extra level of knowledge and physiotherapy skill to assist injury recovery, prevent injury and improve performance. For the best advice, consult a Sports Physiotherapist.
Women's Health Physiotherapy is a particular interest group of therapies.
Not only can your physiotherapist assist you in sport, but they can also help you at work. Ergonomics looks at the best postures and workstation set up for your body at work or home. Whether it be lifting technique improvement, education programs or workstation setups, your physiotherapist can help you.
Plus Much More
Your physiotherapist is a highly skilled body mechanic. A physiotherapist has particular interests in certain injuries or specific conditions. For advice regarding your individual problem, please contact your PhysioWorks team.
What If You Delay Treatment?
Explaining the Different Massage Techniques
Longitudinal gliding is a traditional effective massage technique administered in the direction of the blood flow. It aids the fluid dispersion from the injury site and thus helps reduce inflammation and swelling. It is also instrumental in relaxing tight muscles.
Kneading can be performed in different ways and described by the part of a hand used to accomplish the massage, e.g. thumb kneading and palm kneading. The massage pressure applied must vary according to the purpose of the massage. The rhythm and rate of the movement are equally important as the load is applied intermittently.
Myofascial release is a manual technique for stretching the fascia to balance the body. Your fascia, located between the skin and the underlying structure of muscle and bone, is a seamless web of connective tissue that covers and connects the muscles, organs, and skeletal structures in our body. Injuries, stress, trauma, and poor posture can cause restriction to the fascia, and the goal of myofascial release is to release fascia restriction and restore its tissue.
Trigger point therapy is a bodywork technique that involves the applying of pressure to tender muscle tissue to relieve pain and dysfunction in other parts of the body. Trigger points are active centres of muscular hyperactivity, which often cross-over with acupuncture points. You will also find that common trigger points are what the average person refers to as muscular "knots".
Transverse friction is transverse connective tissue therapy applied directly by the fingers. Transverse frictions use an oscillating pressure applied across the direction of the tissue fibres. This technique is primarily used on tendon or ligament injuries to help break down thickened, pain-producing scar tissue. Unreduced lesions are likely to cause further irritation and degenerate more quickly than they should.
Rhythmic compression into muscles is used to create deep hyperaemia and softening effect in the tissues. This technique may occur as a warm-up for more in-depth, more specific massage work. Sports massage utilises compression massage.
Cross-fibre friction techniques create a stretching and broadening effect. It can also assist in reducing adhesions and in helping build reliable, flexible repair during the healing process.
PNF Stretches (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) combine passive stretching, and isometrics with your muscle alternatingly stretched passively and contracted. The method targets nerve receptors in muscles to extend the muscle length.
What Massage Style is Best for You?
Yes. Massage styles and techniques can be confusing, which is why your PhysioWorks Massage Therapist is a highly-trained professional who understands was is right for your body. If you have any questions as to what massage techniques are the best for you, please call us to discuss your massage requirements. Or, let your massage therapist works their wonders on your body during a consultation.
- joint, ligament and soft tissue mobility
- muscle strength, power and speed
- balance and proprioception
- prevention tips
- performance improvement.
Heat PacksThere is no doubt about it, applying a heat pack to an aching body part provides almost instant relief from pain and stiffness.
How Does Heat Ease Your Pain?For centuries, applying heat is a simple yet effective way to manage your pain and joint or muscular stiffness. Deep and penetrating heat not only relieves your pain but also enhances your recovery process. By applying a heat pack to your painful joints and muscles, the heat stimulates your sensory receptors to block the transmission of pain signals to the brain, resulting in an instant and effective pain relief. Even if you are a chronic pain sufferer, heat packs can help relieve your discomfort - NOW and for many years ahead! If you've been suffering from either stiffness or pain that feels better when you apply heat, have a warm relaxing bath or a hot shower. Alternatively, a microwave heat pack could be the best investment you'll make this year.
How Does Heat Help You?
- By increasing tissue elasticity, heat reduces your resting muscle tension and helps to relax those nasty painful knots.
- Your pain quickly eases via the sedation and soothing of any pain-irritated nerve endings.
- The profound heating increases your blood flow to the painful area, bringing more nutrients to the injured area while flushing out the damaged debris. This flush-out helps to quicken your healing rate.
- The deep heat also promotes a speedier healing rate by stimulating your natural metabolic rate. In other words, there is more energy available to fix the injury quicker.
What's the Advantage of Wheat Heat Packs?Can be heated in a microwave with a turntable in about two minutes. The durable but soft fabric allows for comfortable use and an ability to mould to your body shape, which is great for those super curvy areas such as your neck, knees and shoulders. You can even pop it in bed with you during those cold winter nights!
PhysioWorks will offer you a free reassessment and treatment with one of the senior physiotherapists, should you not be fully satisfied with your treatment. We are here to assist you to to resolve your physical health problems. Please contact your physiotherapist or reception team as soon as possible if you have any concerns.