Best Ways To Treat Soft Tissue Injuries
Some commonly known soft tissue injuries are muscle strains, ligament sprains and contusions. Trauma to muscles or tendons due to overstretching is referred to as a ‘strain’. Tendons are fibrous bands that attach muscles to bone. Whereas, overstretching of ligaments is referred to as a ‘sprain’. Ligaments are fibrous bands that hold bones together.
What are the symptoms?
When any soft tissue is damaged, there is usually immediate pain along with immediate or delayed swelling. Excessive swelling can slow the healing process. As a result of trauma and swelling, stiffness is also very commonly experienced.
Painkillers may be required and if you are not sure what to take, then you should seek advice from your physiotherapist. Avoid stretching the affected area as that could further weaken the damaged tissue. Unless your physiotherapist suggests you to undergo some exercises or activities, do not perform any activities that involves the movement of the affected area. Wait until proper healing takes place and your physiotherapist assigns you various exercises in order to slowly increase your activity levels that can be tolerated.
Some of the most general treatment methods include: P.R.I.C.E.R and No H.A.R.M
If your trauma is severe, then you must ensure to protect your injury from any further damage. Do not undergo any activity that will aggravate the injury.
Providing sufficient rest to the affected area is utmost important. Avoid activities that cause pain to the damaged tissue. Allow sufficient rehab time for even small injuries, so that they can heal faster.
Apply an ice pack to the damaged area for about 20 minutes every 2 hours to reduce pain and swelling.
Apply a compression bandage to the injured area to reduce bleeding, swelling and provide some support. Make sure that the bandage is not tight and does not restrict circulation or cause additional pain.
Raise the damaged limb to the level of your heart if possible, to help reduce the swelling. Support the limb with cushions or slings to keep it raised while resting.
Take an appointment with a physiotherapist for diagnosing, seeking expert advice and to know further treatment plan.
While undergoing the P.R.I.C.E.R treatment, you also should undergo no H.A.R.M treatment protocol.
- No Heat:
Do not apply heat to the injured area, as that will increase bleeding and swelling. Hence avoid heat packs, saunas, spas, hot showers and heat creams.
- No Alcohol:
Drinking alcohol will increase bleeding and swelling. It will also prolong healing because it may mask the pain. Even one sip could make a big difference!
- No Running:
Exercising or running can make the injury worse by further damaging the tissues. That can also increase blood flow to the injured area.
- No Massage:
Do not massage the affected area, as it will only increase blood flow and swelling.
Before seeing your physiotherapist, you should follow the P.R.I.C.E.R and no H.A.R.M protocols immediately after the injury. That will to an extent soothe your affected area and relieve you from intense pain.