How to Care for Old Injuries
Serious injuries can be a problem even after they have healed. Common old injuries that flare up again a couple of years down the line have to do with joints in your elbows, knees and your hips. Caring for old injuries is about maintaining your optimal state to prevent them from resurfacing. Here are three ways you can care for those aches and pains:
Consult a doctor
These injuries can come from different kinds of circumstances from extensive labor (construction), rough sports (football), or an unfortunate accident (falls and slips). Sometimes you can recover without worrying about it affecting you in the future, but other times it can mean a life long struggle with chronic pain. As a precautionary method, you should always go to the doctor immediately when you get your injury to make sure it heals right.
Whenever the pain comes back, consult a doctor like Dr. Kristofer Chaffin to address these concerns. Revisiting the doctor for an old injury can benefit you because they might have new treatments or medication to help treat it. Science is always improving and changing; you could encounter some new form of treatment that works for you. Even if there is no miracle cure, their advice for maintenance can help you improve as physical therapists do not only focus on recovery but can help you get back into shape.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Exercise while you have aches in your muscle and joint may sound like torture, but not doing it only worsens your condition. Exercise strengthens your muscles and bones which lessens the strain and tension in those areas. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight which relieves the burden in critical areas like your hips, knees, and ankles. Another benefit to exercising is the release of endorphins which are hormones that help you cope with stress and pain.
Eating a healthy diet, one rich in vitamins and minerals, is another integral part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Diets can differ depending on your injury, so consult your doctor or nutritionist about what you can and cannot eat. Generally, try to eat lean meat along with lots of fruit and vegetables and stay hydrated with water and teas that can help target your pain. Besides the contents of your meals, remember to eat regularly and have a healthy serving. To do one thing and not the other limits the benefits you can get from these habits.
Have a go-to routine to manage it
Caring for an old injury is not just popping a pain killer when it acts out; create a list with steps you can take to improve the management of the pain to supplement any medication. Hot compress, cold compress, soaking in essential oils from plants like eucalyptus, and massages are some examples that can help mitigate your discomfort. Another layer you can add are ways to redirect your attention like doing a puzzle, playing a game, or meditating. Find activities that can help you cope while you wait for the medicine or compress do its job.
Caring for old injuries is trial and error since everyone experiences pain differently.