We’ve all been there. One moment you’re perfectly fine and then the next….BOOM! Something in your body doesn’t feel right. Maybe you tripped and fell while running, maybe you collided with another player while playing ultimate frisbee, maybe you were at work and twisted around suddenly when someone called your name. Whatever happened, you suffered what is called an acute injury.
What Are Acute Injuries?
An acute injury (often called sports injury) is trauma to your musculoskeletal system. In other words, when you hurt or otherwise damage your bones, muscles, and the soft tissues that hold everything together (ligaments, cartilage, tendons, etc). These usually happen suddenly from actions like falling, twisting, jumping, throwing, and running.
Don’t confuse acute injuries with chronic injuries. Acute injuries happen suddenly, while chronic injuries develop over time as a certain part of the body gathers strain from repetitive overuse.
Here are some common acute injuries:
- Broken bones
- Shin splints
- Torn ligaments
- Muscle pulls
What Helps Provide the Best Recovery?
Often, less-serious acute injuries can be treated with the RICE method:
These actions work together to reduce swelling and inflammation so you can heal. However, the process can be slow, painful, and frustrating--especially if it's keeping you from returning to work or participating in your favorite sports.
How Can An Accident and Injury Chiropractor Help Acute Injuries?
Here at Accelerate Health, our mission is to get you back to the activities you love faster. That’s why we offer many therapeutic services that can help speed up your recovery and quickly help you reduce swelling, inflammation, bruising, and pain.
Let’s use an example of an ankle sprain. If you fell and twisted your ankle while playing soccer, you’d likely want to get past the painful swelling and bruising as soon as possible, so you could get back out on the field. Here’s what your care would look like if you came into one of our Denver offices.
After initial evaluation and examination of your ankle, we would give you a diagnosis of an inversion ankle sprain (your ankle was injured by rolling inward) and begin treatment immediately.
Phase 1: Acute
In the acute phase, reducing swelling, inflammation, and pain would be the primary focus.
To help you increase your range of motion, we would begin with light soft tissue mobility work around the damaged ligament to bring in new blood flow and to push inflammatory fluid out of the area. We would start with the Graston Technique, using special stainless steel tools to stretch and rearrange your soft tissue to increase blood flow and promote the healing process.
Next, we would use cold laser therapy. Our class IV cold laser penetrates deep into the tissue and creates a chemical reaction within the cell. As a result the cell is stimulated to create more ATP. Why is this important? ATP is used as energy in the body, so more ATP will increase the amount of energy our body can use to heal. We’ve seen cold laser therapy significantly reduce bruising almost immediately.
Finally, we would perform kinesiotaping around your ankle to reduce pain and swelling. Our doctors love to use RockTape--an advanced kinesiotaping system that stabilizes your injury while still leaving range of motion and space for your blood to flow freely.
This acute phase would last 3-4 visits or roughly 2-3 weeks. We’d also give you exercises to do at home to promote your healing. (One of our favorites is writing the ABCs with your ankle!)
Phase 2: Subacute
Once you are out of the acute phase, you would enter the subacute phase. This phase of care would be focused on function and helping you to fully bear weight on your injured ankle. To do this, we’d draw upon lots of different techniques and tools, customizing your treatment to what your body would benefit most from.
Here’s some of the techniques we might use:
Graston Method: manipulating the muscle and connective tissue with specialized tools to increase bloodflow, reduce scar tissue, and increase mobility
Active Release Technique: a series of muscle movements and releases to increase mobility and reduce pain.
Voodoo Flossing: wrapping and releasing injured areas to promote blood flow and healing
Cupping: creating a vacuum over the injured area with special silicone cups to help with pain, inflammation, and blow flow
Dry Needling: inserting thin, monofilament needles into trigger points around the injury to reduce pain and increase range of motion.
A combination of these techniques is the gold standard of care. At this point we would be addressing the musculature surrounding the injured ligament to help provide better support and stability to the ligament. During this phase you would have new exercises to work on at home to help further increase the stability of your ankle.
Phase 3: Prevention
After you fully heal from your ankle sprain, you would, of course, want to prevent it from happening again. That’s why we work to educate you after your recovery on the best way to protect yourself from further injury.
In addition to teaching you safer ways to move, stretch, and warm up, we also encourage you to keep visiting our office to ensure you stay in tip-top shape.
Acute injuries are never fun, but here at Accelerate Health, we’re committed to helping you recover quickly with proven, non-invasive treatments that will get back to doing what you love. If you’re struggling with an injury--old or new--make an appointment today and get back on the path to health and happiness.