Foster Chiropractic Sports & Wellness

Treating Injuries: When to Use Heat or Ice or Both

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The long days of summer make it easy to get outside and to be active. Weekend hikes with the family, a round of golf at the club, tennis with friends after work, and even a leisurely stroll fill up the hours before sunset. But all of that increased activity can also lead to more chances for injuries or even just stiff muscles. A sprained ankle from hiking, sore muscles from the tennis serve you haven’t practiced since last summer, or a aching feet from a walk in flip flops can have you sitting on the sidelines. The key to getting back out doing the things you love quickly is practicing smart first aid tactics. 

For most simple sports injuries like sprained ankles and sore muscles, we automatically reach for an ice pack or heating pad. But which one do you use when, and what is the proper way to use it?

Cold Therapy

Reach for that ice pack immediately after an injury to reduce swelling and inflammation. Cold therapy works by constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow to the injured area, which can reduce swelling and inflammation, as well as reducing the amount of pain. Cold therapy is recommended for sprains, bruises and muscle tears.

Ice packs work well for cold treatments, but it’s just as easy to use a Ziploc bag of crushed ice or even a bag of frozen peas or corn. Just don’t put the ice directly on your skin. Cover the pack with a towel to make it more comfortable.

Place ice on the injured area about 15 minutes, then remove for 15 minutes and repeat every hour. Ice therapy is often recommended at the onset of the injury, for the first 24-48 hours.

Heat Therapy

The time to reach for the heating pad is when you’re experiencing pain from sore or tight muscles rather than an acute injury. The heat expands blood vessels, allowing for increased circulation and oxygen flow to the area. This will help relax sore muscles. 

Use heat the same way you would with ice therapy, applying it to the area in pain for limited amounts of time. You can use a heating pad or even just a hot, wet towel to provide relief.

Combining Therapies

Sometimes it works to alternate hot and cold therapies. After the first 3-5 days, when acute swelling has gone down, you might choose to alternate hot and cold, ten minutes each. This has the effect of increasing the circulation to the area when the heating pad is in use, and then the ice pack constricts the vessels and allows the injured area to use the nutrient rich blood to heal the area.

Many times resting from your normal activities and concentrating on proper hot or cold therapy will have you feeling better quickly. If you have questions about whether ice or heat is the appropriate home treatment, call our office for guidance. Chiropractic treatment is often a good option for helping alleviate sports injuries  - from neck/back pain to knee, foot and shoulder pain. If you have an injury or pain that is keeping you on the sidelines, call Foster Chiropractic for a consultation. We can help you get back in top shape to enjoy all the activities you love in the summer.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: The Problem is Not Your Wrist

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We take for granted just how much work our hands and wrists do every day. Typing, texting, opening doors and driving a car - these extremities are very busy all day long. But for people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, simple daily tasks such as buttoning a shirt or lifting a plate of food become painful.

More than 8 million Americans are affected with carpal tunnel syndrome each year, and with symptoms showing up more often in women between the ages of 40-70. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when there is pressure on the median nerve in your wrist. This nerve runs from the forearm to the hand through a small area called the carpal tunnel. When experiencing pressure, a person will often have weakness, tingling and even numbness in the wrist and fingers.

What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Many factors put you at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome:.

·      Repetitive motion is a big cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, and is most often seen in the workplace. People who do jobs that require all-day driving, a lot of typing, working with small tools or instruments, packing and loading objects or writing will find they’re at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome.

·      Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism or diabetes can cause swelling that can put pressure on the nerves and lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.

·      Pregnancy is another risk factor leading to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Relieving the Pain

Once diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, patients might find relief from simple things such as reducing the amount of repetitive work being done, taking frequent rest breaks, putting ice packs on the area for 10-15 minutes a couple of times a day or wearing a splint to relieve the pressure.

If those measures fail, it is time to seek medical treatment. Many people opt for surgery, but studies show that in 75 percent of cases of carpal tunnel syndrome treated with surgery, symptoms return within two years. Research has found that many times this pain and weakness is caused by problems with the alignment of the neck, which isn’t fixed with surgery.

Chiropractic care offers a non-invasive approach to treating carpal tunnel syndrome. At Foster Chiropractic Sports & Wellness, we are proud to be able to offer services that treat extremities, as Dr. Scott Foster is one of the only area chiropractors certified to adjust extremities. A chiropractic approach to treating carpal tunnel syndrome will first focus on the wrist and arm to relieve the pain, and then will work on any issues in the neck that might be causing undue pressure. We will also recommend home exercises to help with the pain.

As with many types of pain, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also important. Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol can also help avoid symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

If you are suffering from pain or weakness in your wrists and hands, call us today. We can help you get back to all of your normal activities and live pain free.

Taming Elbow Issues

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Whether your favorite place is the golf course or the tennis courts, summer is the time to be outdoors and playing. But sometimes those activities we love can also cause us pain. Both tennis and golf, with swinging rackets and clubs, put stress on the elbow. After all, there’s a reason for hearing people complain about Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow. Both are irritation and inflammation of the tendon, Tennis Elbow is the outer tendon and Golf Elbow is the inner tendon. Ironically, more golfers tend to suffer from Tennis Elbow than Golf Elbow!

Whichever ailment you suffer from, both can cause a lot of pain and keep you away from your favorite game. Here at Foster Chiropractic Sports & Wellness, our goal is to get you back out there on the course or the courts. As one of the few area chiropractors with certification as an Extremity Practitioner, we are especially equipped to help people suffering from either one of these conditions.

If you’re suffering from pain when you grip something, make a fist, or even shake hands with someone, you could have Tennis or Golf Elbow. Here’s what you can expect:

  • First, at your appointment with the chiropractor, Dr. Foster, we will examine your arm and make a diagnosis. Tennis and Golf Elbow often have symptoms of inflammation or irritation along with pain.
  • Once identified, these injuries can be treated with chiropractic adjustments and therapy.
  • You will also be advised to ice the injured area and perform exercises and stretches to build strength.
  • In addition to chiropractic adjustments, massage and acupuncture therapies are often successful ways of treating Tennis and Golf Elbow.
  • Finally, we recommend you take lessons from a professional to improve the technique of your swing. It’s always important to get to the root cause of the ailment so that you don’t continue doing the thing that caused your pain in the first place. Need us to recommend a professional – just ask!

In addition to our traditional chiropractic services, Foster Chiropractic Sports & Wellness is excited to offer cold laser therapy. We have a variety of ways to help ease your pain and get you back outside, playing your favorite sport. If you’re experiencing pain that is keeping you off your favorite golf course or the courts, give us a call today and set up an appointment.