Have you ever injured yourself on the sports field, only to be told to “walk it off” and get back in the game? Although it may seem to be working at the time, this advice is likely to cause more harm than good as continued exercise will only aggravate the injury and cause further tissue damage – easily avoided with rest and immediate treatment.
The pain may seem to subside with continued exercise because mechanical signals such as touch can over-ride impulses from pain receptor nerve fibres and stop them from reaching the brain. Endorphins and a sportsmen’s frame of mind can also play a part in over-riding the sensation of pain.
The first 24 – 48 hours is the most critical time in the treatment of acute injuries. When an injury occurs, for example tearing a muscle in a nasty tackle during a rugby match, blood vessels in the soft tissue rupture and the area begins to swell. Inflammation is the body’s natural form of defense to guard the injured area against further damage, but the pressure exerted by the inflammation can be incredibly painful.
Many sportsmen swear by the RICE technique as the standard procedure to follow when treating an acute soft tissue injury. This not only decreases pain and swelling, but also helps to speed up the rate of recovery.
· R – Rest: Sportsmen need to know when to stop training in order to give the injury a chance to heal.
· I –Ice: Applying ice to an injury during the first 24 – 48 hours causes the blood vessels to narrow, which limits inflammation and muscle spasms, offering pain relief. Because ice is not always readily available at the time of injury, all sportsmen should invest in a cold therapy treatment as a convenient tog bag alternative. Should a cold therapy treatment not be available, an Ibuprofen treatment such as Deep Relief can be used, especially where more serious sprains and strains are concerned. Always consult your doctor when a serious injury is sustained.
· C – Compression: Making use of a compression bandage in conjunction with cold therapy treatments for the first 24 – 48 hours after injury will slow down the inflammatory process.
· E – Elevation: Elevating the injured limb for as much time as possible during the first 48 hours will allow fluid to drain away from the injury, decreasing pain caused by swelling.
Whether you’re a professional sportsmen, spend hours in the gym, or see yourself more as a weekend warrior on the golf course, injury is an unfortunate reality. Recurrent muscular and joint pain can be debilitating if not treated effectively, with more severe pain needing an Ibuprofen treatment for long lasting relief. Topical Ibuprofen treatments such as Deep Relief are absorbed through the skin to inhibit the chemicals that generate pain and inflammation, offering long lasting relief of recurrent, acute muscular aches and pains. More serious injuries such as strains, sprains and backache may also call for the power of Ibuprofen to relieve pain and inflammation.
DeepRelief is available at selected pharmacies nationwide in 25g (R24.95) and 50g (R49.95) tubes. For further information visit www.mentholatum.co.za. (Cape Town, July 2010)