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In the Meantime. . . Help Yourself Heal

By Valerie Girard, DC
A day in the garden, helping a friend move or falling asleep on the couch-these are all activities that can result in a sore neck or achy low back. While some people consult their chiropractor with the onset of pain, others may wish to wait to see if the pain goes away.

While you are waiting to see if it is a minor injury, why not speed up the healing process with these activities:
·Ice areas of pain, especially in the low back, on either side of the spine. This is where the nerves exit the spine and where inflammation is likely to occur. Ice is a very effective anti-inflammatory-without the side effects of some medications.

·Moist heat can be applied to muscles in the upper back and the back of the neck. Best not to apply heat to the low back as it can increase inflammation in the initial stages of an injury,

·Apply a homeopathic ointment like arnica or Traumeel® to the area of pain.

·Carefully stretch muscle groups that may have been overworked.

·Take calcium and magnesium in larger dosages- it may reduce muscle spasm.

·Gently massage areas of strain.

·Use over–the-counter pain relief only if it improves symptoms –do not use it to manage pain over days and weeks.

If your pain or discomfort subsides over the next few days, you probably have a mild muscle strain. However, there are times when it is best to see your chiropractor immediately following an injury:

  The pain you feel is sharp and is worse with movement.

  The pain does not change or it worsens as time goes on.

  Your injury is preventing a good night’s sleep or your ability to work.

  The pain subsides somewhat, but then persists without improvement.

  The pain returns to the same level if you don’t take anti-inflammatory medication.

  The pain radiates down your leg, down your arm or up into your skull, producing an unrelenting headache.

Often people report that they ignored a low level pain for weeks or months, which then developed suddenly into a more serious pain or injury. Treating a low level pain is usually simple and short term. When a more moderate or severe injury takes place, it can take weeks or months to return the body to its normal level of strength and activity.

While most people experience musculo-skeletal problems on an occasional level, others are prone to injury or pain due to their job, their activities levels or genetic proclivities. These people do well then to see their chiropractor on a regular basis.

If you are in doubt, place a quick call to your chiropractor- she or he should be able to help you determine if you need to come in immediately.
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