INJURY SELF-MANAGMENT INFO
Use an ice or flexible cold pack over the affected area. Often, frozen vegetables work fine. Another suggestion is to prepare an ice pack using 3:1 water to Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol) in a Ziplock® bag. After freezing, this inexpensive method creates a nice slushy ice pack that you can freeze and re-freeze.
Use a barrier between your skin and the ice pack – wet paper towels usually work fine.
Keep the ice pack on for 10-15 minutes.
It is best to elevate the affected limb while icing, if possible.
Instructions for Ice Massage
Fill paper, foam, plastic or metal cup with water (4 oz. capacity is sufficient) and place in freezer.
You may want to stick a Popsicle stick, tongue depressor, plastic fork, or similar device into the cup prior to freezing for ease in handling.
Take the frozen ice block out of the plastic, foam or metal cup; or tear the edges of a paper cup away to expose the top of the ice block.
Rub the ice directly over the skin at the affected area in a brisk circular or back-and-forth fashion, covering an area that is approximately 3-5 inches in diameter.
Continue the ice massage for about 4 minutes. You will experience the following sensations: intense cold, burning, stinging and finally numbness. When you experience cold NUMBNESS, you are pau (done).
Ice massage can be performed as often as you are able. Usually three times per day is sufficient. This can be performed before or after exercise, and before you go to sleep.
Instructions for Hot Pack (Moist Heat)
Hot packs are NOT to be used on a fresh injury/surgical area that is still warm to the touch when comparing it to the other side. However, they may be used on the muscles surrounding the area if the muscles are tight and cramped.
Wet and wring-out a hand towel made of cotton (terry cloth), fold and place in a microwave oven.
Heat the towel on high setting for 1.5 minutes.
Carefully remove the heated towel from the microwave oven by holding the corner of the towel. CAUTION! THE TOWEL WILL BE VERY HOT!
Shake out the folded towel to cool it off a little, and then refold it.
Place the towel over the affected area and cover it with another dry towel, plastic or vinyl wrap/cover to keep the heat from escaping. The heat will last for approximately 3-5 minutes.
While applying the first towel, heat a second one so that you time it to be done when the first cools off too much. Apply the second towel and rotate it again with the first, repeating the process.
With three rotations, you should get a good 10-15 minutes of moist heat treatment.
Enhances immunity and aids in protein utilization. Vitamin A is required for cell growth and is important for the generation of damaged tissues, connective tissue, new blood vessels.
An antioxidant required for tissue growth and repair. Surgery depletes vitamin C stores and vitamin C deficiency slows wound healing since this vitamin is necessary to produce wound-healing collagen and elastin as well as to maintain a healthy immune system.
All the B vitamins are important during stressful situations.
VITAMIN B5 (Pantothenic acid)
This most important anti-stress vitamin speeds up wound healing, increases protein synthesis, and multiplies the number of cells available at the wound site.
A free radical scavenger, Vitamin E is especially helpful for people who have had heart surgery since it may stop the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries and can destroy free radicals that might damage the hearts cells. It is also used topically to decrease irregular collagen formation (scar tissue).
Needed for repair of connective tissue, important in bone healing, Ca++ is essential for muscle function at the cellular level.
Vital for tissue repair, K+ balance is necessary for nerve cell health and function.
Mg+ is very important for the skeletal system and works in harmony with Ca++.
Enhances bone healing and tissue regeneration as it is an important mineral found in collagen matrix.
Zinc is necessary for the production of connective tissue. It also interacts with vitamin A making this vitamin available for the body to use as well as working to boost the immune system. Zinc deficiency is especially prevalent in those who have lost a lot of bodily fluids or weight or who have had frequent infections.
Arginine increases nitrogen retention, body weight, and production of reparative collagen all of which are essential following surgery. It also stimulates the immune system, wound healing and protects against infection.
Ornithine works hand-in-hand with Arginine to affect the pituitary gland in releasing HGH (human growth hormone) which enhances the body’s ability to repair.
Increases cell proliferation during tissue repair. It is lost depleted the body’s initial response to injury.
Essential Fatty Acids
EFA’S (GLA, EPA, OMEGA 3 & 6, DHA)
Promotes cellular and cardiovascular health; improves stamina and speeds recovery. All tissue and organ systems benefit from essential fatty acids.
Betaine has been shown to be effective as an Anti-inflammatory nutrient.
WHITE WILLOW BARK
Sometimes called “Nature’s Aspirin” because the aspirin we see in stores today was copied from it’s chemical structure.
Found to have anti-inflammatory effect similar to hydrocortisone.
GRAPE SEED EXTRACT
A powerful anti-oxidant that defends against cellular breakdown.
An anti-oxidant with particular affinity for cardiac (heart) tissue.
Its believed to enhance cell growth and the immune system and contains up to 200 different beneficial substances. Reduces inflammation and pain, promotes healing, and stops infections. Causes cells to divide and multiply, stimulates the growth of white blood cells, enhances cell wall permeability. Also works as a mild laxative.
CHONDROITIN & GLUCOSAMINE SULFATE
Working together, this duo promotes cartilage growth for healthier joints.
HA (HYALURONIC ACID)
A vitally important substance for cellular health with direct benefits to skin and joints.
Other Nutritional Suggestions
EAT AND DRINK YOUR VEGETABLES
Vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that can help speed your recovery from an injury.
GET PLENTY OF FIBER AFTER SURGERY
Prunes, prune juice, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains can help you move your bowels after surgery and let you avoid constipation.
PROTEINS FOR RECOVERY
Eating foods high in protein (such as eggs, fish, dairy, poultry and meat) is important for muscle recovery. For vegans, proper combinations of grains, seeds, nuts and starches provide adequate protein.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Unless fluids have been restricted, water can help you avoid dehydration and can flush out your bladder and bowels, helping to prevent a urinary tract infection which may occur if you’ve had a urinary catheter. Recommended amounts vary between 4-8 glasses (approximately 8 ounces) per day.
EAT LIGHT AND OFTEN
It’s best to eat 4-5 small (limited portion) meals a day instead of three large ones. Eating smaller, healthier meals can provide nutrients necessary for healing after surgery or injury, and control cell damage.
USE HOT AND COLD TREATMENTS TO REDUCE SWELLING
For muscle damage, you can buy heating pads and wrap the affected area in the pad on medium heat three or more times a day for a few hours. For joint injury, apply cold packs to the affected area for 15-20 minutes each application, 3 times a day.
USE ELEVATION AND COMPRESSION TO REDUCE SWELLING
Elevate the injured limb to a level even or above the heart to reduce swelling. Use compression (i.e., elastic bandage, sleeve, TED hosiery) to control swelling. Make sure it is snug, but comfortable…not binding!
USE APPROPRIATE SAFETY GEAR
Have and use car seats, bicycle helmets, proper athletic padding and gear, etc. as needed and as required.
To reduce the risk of injury, a proper warm up is essential before any type of exercise.
AVOID ACTIVITIES THAT ARE ABOVE YOUR LEVEL OF ACTIVITY
Do not participate in physically demanding activities if you are not in good enough physical condition to handle such exercise. If you want to do such an activity you should work up to it gradually through the proper exercises and conditioning. Avoid dangerous activities.
Treating an Injury
It is helpful and in some cases life-saving to have at least a general knowledge of first aid. Taking a course in first aid or keeping a good first aid reference guide handy can be essential in treating an injury. The following are basic guidelines for treating minor injuries. Major injuries should receive medical attention as soon as possible.
REMOVE DEAD TISSUE AND CLEANSE THE WOUND
Normal saline solution is the only acceptable wound-cleansing solution since other chemicals may cause further damage to the injury.
MAINTAIN A MOIST ENVIRONMENT
Healing wounds exude a fluid filled with cells, enzymes, and hormones necessary to stimulate further healing. The wound can be keep moist so that this fluid will not dry up and so that dressings will not stick to forming tissue and damage it when removed if the dressings are moistened with normal saline solution.
PREVENT FURTHER INJURY
Find out what caused the wound and avoid that activity or thing.
PROVIDE NUTRIENTS FOR HEALING
Proteins (necessary for all stages of healing), fats and carbohydrates (for the extra energy needed to heal), water (to replace lost fluids), and vitamins and minerals (to assist in various functions of healing) are needed for proper and timely recovery.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF INFECTION
Observe affected areas at or around the injury site, incision from surgery, open lesions from the injury, etc. Watch out for the following signs using the “SHARP” acronym:
Contact your doctor immediately should you observe all of these signs.
Excerpted from “Injury Self-Management Program”, a publication of Healing With Nutrition along with additions from Reid Elam, PhD, DPT, ND. For more information about managing your injury, contact ESO or visit on line.