Ice and Heat for Physical Healing

Ice and heat are a healing method often used in most physical therapy treatments for patients. According to OSR Physical therapy, ice and heat, techniques referred to as cryotherapy and thermotherapy, are approaches to help limit muscle swelling, pain, and tension relief. Ice and heat can be used in combinations or separately depending on the injury and severity of your doctor’s diagnoses.

Ice Curing

It is advised to use ice during the initial stage of an injury (48-72 hours), which doctors refer to as an acute injury. Dr. Joseph Mercola elaborates in his article, “Ice works for injuries because it narrows your blood vessels, which helps prevent blood from accumulating at the site of injury, which will add to inflammation and swelling while delaying healing.” Effective use of ice can come from gel packs, ice wraps or direct ice that is wrapped in a towel or even placed in the traditional Ziploc bag. A popular injury treatment acronym to go by is R.I.C.E., which means rest, ice, compress, and elevate.

Heat Healing

Normally, is used to relax those tight and stiffs muscles or joints. The goal is to make those tissues more soft and limber to prevent further hard tears or new injuries. It is ideal to use heat before a workout, daily stretching, or any physical activity and avoid heat to any swollen injuries. Orthopedic Surgery Associates clarifies, “Moist heat is more effective than dry heat as it penetrates deeper and has a better effect on muscles, joints, and soft tissue.” Examples of moist heat could be a hot soaked towel, hot tubs or heating packs.

It is important to not over treat with heat, given that heat increases your blood flow and can cause extra swelling. Also, keep in mind, ice left too long on the skin can result in frostbite or other parts of the body becoming injured as well. If the injury has worsened or unimproved after consistent treatment, contact a medical professional to provide you with a custom treatment plan for your particular injury.

Don’t Sleep on a Concussion

Summer fun began and left! For some parents, that means the start of a new school year and a new active schedule, especially if you have a child in sports. It is ideal to want to keep your kids active in and outside of school, given, that playing a sport or being active can be exceedingly rewarding to you or your child’s social, mental, and physical health. As a parent to a new or developing athlete, these are the stages where monitoring your child’s physical health should increase. Unfortunately, with physical activity come injuries, commonly, concussions. With early detection, the likelihood of a shortened recovery time and an opportunity to a swift release back to full participation is abundant.

What is a concussion?

In a Forbes News article, Dr. A. Chainey Umphrey, concussion expert practicing at Kaiser Permanente’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in San Jose, briefs, “…a concussion is caused by a blow or jolt to the head or body that disrupts the function of the brain.” Dr. Umphrey extends, “that initial symptoms often appear quite mild but can lead to significant and lifelong impairment.”

Concussions are not to take lightly, statistics pulled from the UPMC Sports Medicine Program showed:

  • Unreported or undetected concussions are 5 of 10
  • High-school athletes participating in a contact sport — this year 2 of 10 will endure a concussion

Possible Symptoms

Levels of a concussion vary from the person and how it may develop. Others may notice symptoms immediately or, even, weeks or months later. The Mayo Clinic addresses common concussion symptoms to be aware of during and after a sporting event, some include:

  • Slow to rise after fall
  • Dizziness
  • Light and noise sensitivity
  • Confusion with memory
  • Unstable first few steps after a collision
  • Wandering in the wrong direction or team
  • Needing a constant reminder for things or instructions
  • Change in the mood
  • Challenging to focus

If you or your child notice or mention developing signs of a concussion, always inform a coach, personal trainers, or physician right away. It is valuable to know the symptoms of injuries, not just for self, but for your loved ones or anyone you may know who is involved in any type of physical activity. A parent’s favorite motto, “safety first” and that’s for all aspects of your life.

Staph Infection Prevention

Staph is not the worst infection, but it is a common and unpleasant one to develop. Staph can be easily spread amongst patients and employees in and between hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities.

Risks

Staph infection comes from the bacteria strand, staphylococcus. Staph is an infection that affects the skin; the majority of the times it causes no severe problems and is considered a minor condition. It was documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “more than 119,000 bloodstream staph infections occurred in 2017”. So, it is still important to seek treatment when the first symptoms are noticed. When staph is developed over time, it could result in severe complications once the infection penetrates deeper into your body.

Common symptoms vary from skin rashes, redness, or blisters on the skin. As infection prolongs, you may develop fevers, chills, diarrhea or even vomiting.

Treatment for staph is by doctor prescribed antibiotics.

Prevention. If you ever had a Staph infection, reoccurrences, or never want to experience it, here are some helpful prevention tips to practice.

  1. Clean hands at all times. Wash hands before eating, after using the restroom, and keep hand-sanitizer with you or at your desk.
  2. Keep open wounds clean, dry, and covered to prevent spreading infections to others and to other parts of your body.
  3. Try not to share. To prevent germ exchange, avoid sharing food, drinks, and any personal items.
  4. Clean your linen and towels in warm to hot water to kill germs.
  5. For health care facilities, CDC encourages practice in keeping all medical devices sterile before placing them into patients’ bodies.
  6. Contact precautions include proper disposal and renewing of patient-care equipment and protective wear—gloves and gowns.
  7. Make a habit of disinfecting your home, workplace, or any rooms you encounter.

Beat the Heat

With 2019 becoming one of the hottest years so far as January through March ranked as the third hottest YTD on record according to NOAA.gov, it has forced many people to stay inside rather than enjoy the beautiful days outside. If you were to go outside for a long period of time, it could have significant t effects on your body and health. Here are some ways you can beat the heat.

Drink plenty of water – It is said to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day according to Healthline. The harsh environments during the summer switch the narrative from recommended requiring. Make sure to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and refreshed.

Avoid dark colors – Black colored clothing absorbs more heat from the sun than white. Before you make your trip outside, be wary of the colors you wear. Darker colors tend to make your body warmer than usual.

Avoid sodas/energy drinks/alcohol – According to an insider, “alcohol is a diuretic, which makes the body lose fluids by making you have to go the bathroom more often.” Coffee, energy drinks, and sodas all fall under as a diuretic. High sugar content associated with these drinks also prevents your body from absorbing the water it needs.

Bring a water bottle – Make it a habit to bring your own reusable water bottle. This will ensure you to have water at your hands at all times and help reach your daily consumption of eight 8-ounces a day. You can find tumblers for as cheap as five to ten dollars.

Apply sunscreen – If you plan on staying outside for a long period of time, then you should consider applying some sunscreen. Sunscreen is used to prevent your skin from heating up and sunburns. If you plan to walk your dog or workout at the neighborhood park, it might be a good idea to rub some sunscreen.

AC – Make sure the ac units in your car and home are up to date. Check the maintenance and all parts are functional. Add free- on to make sure you’re getting the coldest air possible. The heat can be so overwhelming, that it will cause your AC units to blow hot air or force your unit to work harder than usual. Keep it a priority to check up on your AC during hot times.

Limit your time outside – It’s difficult to stay indoors on a beautiful day, but the longer you stay outside in high temperatures increases the likelihood of suffering a heat stroke. Heat strokes include dizziness, headaches, and rapid pulse. According to Medicine Health “Confusion, hallucinations, seizures, loss of consciousness, organ damage, coma, and death can occur if not treated quickly and effectively.” the same can go for younger kids and pets. Make sure to regulate their time outside as they have a higher risk to obtain symptoms of heatstroke. Take a look at our Heat stress blog that will further inform you about heat-related symptoms.

Park under the shade/garage – When driving to a convenient store; park in spots that have shade. This will prevent the car from getting too hot or overheating when you’re at the store for long hours. If you have a garage, take advantage of it. Leaving your car with the blistering sun pounding on it can ruin paint and any objects left in your car.

It’s hot and you know your body better than anyone. Always pay attention to what your body is signaling to you so you won’t have to suffer from any heat like symptoms.

Hand Injury and Typing

A majority of jobs require you to use a computer for numerous hours a day, but as more people type on a computer, hand injuries due to improper keyboard use become more common. It starts with tingling or numbness in the hand, and become increasingly painful. One of the most common injuries is Repetitive Strain Injury.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is an injury which is caused by overusing the hands to perform repetitive tasks – typing, writing, or using a mouse. The pain felt in muscles, nerves, and tendons is caused by repetitive movement and overuse. The condition affects parts of the upper body, such as forearms/elbows, risks/hands, and necks/shoulders.  The first symptoms of RSI may include swelling, tenderness, pain, and stiffness.

Here are some risk factors associated with RSI:

  • Poor posture
  • Don’t take frequent breaks
  • Don’t exercise regularly
  • Work in a high-pressure environment
  • Use a computer for more than 2-4 hours a day

Here are some ways you can relieve hand pain.

  • Take frequent breaks every 30 minutes, if possible. Utilize techniques to stretch your hands and wrists.
  • Improve your posture. Sit tall in a comfortable position.
  • Don’t press too hard with your fingers on the keyboard. This could cause unnecessary strain.
  • Bring your keyboard and mouse close to the edge of the desk.
  • Make sure your chair is raised to the appropriate height so that your elbows are at 45 degrees.
  • Pay attention to the position of your hands.
  • Keep your fingernails short! Long fingernails make it more difficult to main a good typing position. Your typing position should be wrists straight, fingers down and slightly curved.
  • Avoid sitting cross-legged.

Even if you don’t work a desk job, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you too. Other occupations such as drivers, musicians, and dental hygienists are also at risk since those occupations require repetitive movements as well.

When you are in front of a computer for eight hours a day, preventative measures are important in order to prevent hand injuries. If you take the appropriate steps and your symptoms are still persistent, it is important to see a doctor immediately.

 

Written my Dami Falade

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