What to do in the First Few Days
Though rest is beneficial initially, early movement is vital to reduce stiffness, weakness, and promote healing. You may have heard of R.I.C.E before, to use Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. This has now become the principle of P.O.L.I.C.E (Protection, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
- Protection. A short period of rest can be beneficial to help your pain. Total rest should be limited to prevent loss of range of movement and muscle weakness.
- Optimal Loading. Early activity promotes recovery. Gradually progress your activity quantity and intensity to optimise healing and prevent muscle loss.
- Ice. Applying ice for 20 minutes three times a day may help you to reduce your pain and can reduce your swelling.
- Compression. You can use a compressive bandage to reduce any swelling. Make sure that this is applied evenly to the affected area.
- Elevation. Raise your injury above your heart during short periods of rest. This is to help your swelling and reduce your pain.
What to do After the First Few Days
Once the first few days have passed following P.O.L.I.C.E you need to give your injury some L.O.V.E.
- Load. Gradual return to activity. Listen to your body. Rest as needed.
- Optimism. Be confident. Be positive (there is evidence that this can help your recovery). Condition your brain for optimal recovery.
- Vascularisation. Choose pain free activity. Gradually increase your activity. Get moving to promote blood flow.
- Exercise. Maintain your mobility and regain muscular strength. Work on your balance. Keep active.
What Exercise Can I Do?
What exercises you can do will depend on where your injury is. Please follow the correct link below for exercises and more advice on how you can help yourself.
How Do I Keep Active When I’m in Pain?
The videos below discuss how to keep moving and exercise while suffering with long term pain.
Why Does it Hurt in Multiple Places?
This is called Referred Pain. It is very common and does not necessarily mean you have injured multiple places. Referred pain is the pain that we feel somewhere other than where the pain is coming from. This is because the sensory nerves supply multiple areas and the tissues around these nerves become sensitised. It will feel similar to the main pain and tends to be around the same level of pain. This is not the same as radiating pain (radicular pain) which is a result of nerve irritation that follows a specific nerve route.