If you’ve sustained an injury that’s moderate or severe, visiting an experienced physician will help you recover ASAP. But when you’re home after visiting a doctor or if the injury is mild, there are strategies that you can use to help speed the healing process on your own.
You can use the methods listed below to care for an injury at home. Remember that if pain persists or symptoms don’t improve, visit a doctor, such as one of the skilled physicians at the Florida Spine & Injury Institute of Lakeland, for medical care.
Time-tested and effective, the RICE method of at-home injury care should be your first approach after an injury.
We know that the recommendation to rest after an injury isn’t what many busy people want to hear. After all, you want to get back to all of your favorite activities, but rest is of the utmost importance for injury recovery.
When moving an injured body part causes pain, it’s a sign that you need to rest. By not moving the injured area, you’ll allow it to heal. Gradually, as the injured area regains strength, you’ll be able to move it safely.
Icing an injury, especially immediately after it occurs, brings down inflammation and pain. However, it’s important to ice safely to avoid damage to the skin. Wrap the ice or ice pack in a thin cloth, and only apply the ice in 15 to 20-minute intervals. Before applying ice again after this period, ensure that your skin is back to a regular temperature.
Compressing the injured area can also help with inflammation, ease pain, and immobilize the area, but remember not to wrap the compress too tightly, as doing so could stop circulation to the area.
The final step in RICE for at-home injury care is to elevate. Elevate the injured area above the heart so that blood drains from the injury back to the heart. This will prevent inflammation for faster healing.
To further stop swelling and pain, you may use over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen. Acetaminophen is also available, though it will only address the pain of the injury, not the inflammation. Follow the instructions for taking the medication and don’t exceed the recommended dose.
When injury pain persists, don’t leave it to become worse. Instead, visit our center for prompt injury care.