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Sprains, Breaks, Injuries and Other Pains

copyright 2009 by Milica Barjaktarovic  

 

When we don't warm up and/or don't warm down and/or overdo our workout (either fun or for work) we get pain.  So what do we do? 

If there is swelling or inflammation, ice. 20 mins ice, then rest for the rest of the hour. Too much ice will totally cut of circulation and "freeze" the tissue and that is a bad idea in the long run. Tissue likes to be warm and pliable. In case of inflammation, you want to reduce circulation just for a while, until the inflammation subsides. 

When the inflammation subsides, then hot-cold works great, because heat brings circulation and cold prevents inflammation. Cold periods should be a lot shorter than hot, and always end with cold.

For regular maintenance, heat is the key, to keep the muscles pliable and stretchable. So, we warm up before any exercise, and we warm down afterwards. Keeping muscles warm during the activity and after is also important. So, STRETCH. Without stretching, nothing works. If tissues feel stiff and are not willing to stretch, there are latent trigger points in them. Gentle stretching and possibly self massage will help to get rid of them and prevent potential problems. 

If we are not warmed up enough, and muscles, ligaments and tendons are tight, they will resist being stretched. They will try to "stall" by developing knots and trigger points in the tissue, to prevent you from stretching it too much and tearing it.

If you REALLY INSIST on stretching such cold and tight connective tissue, they will first develop terrible knots, which you will feel as pain even when you do nothing. The only way to get rid of those is massage.

If you keep on insisting on stretching tight tissue, the tissue will break, ligaments and tendons even more easily than muscles because they are less pliable anyways. Achiles tendon is a prime candidate. The shoulder rotator cuff complex too. You will hear a pop and there will be a lot of pain where there is a tear. The tissue around it will develop knots to protect the injury. Then the rest of the body will be thrown off balance in order to compensate. Then you have a problem. Which could have been prevented by simple stretching beforehand!

How do you know what got injured? Ligaments and tendons hurt in the morning, and less or none in the evening because they got warmed up during the day. Muscles are fine in the morning but then get really sore and tired by the night, from overuse. Injuring ligaments and tendons is a bigger problem to solve, because they have less blood vessels in them and thus are more stiff, like rope, so they are very prone to overstretching and tearing, and take a lot longer to heal. Muscles are "meat" - they are full of blood, quite pliable and flexible, quite stretchable, and respond a lot quicker and better to massage. Ligaments and tendons like gentle consistent movement and stretching. Rubbing too much over them can inflame them, which takes longer to get down than overubbing and overstretching and overworking a muscle. 

If you hear a pop and then have terrible pain, something got torn. In the worst case, something got broken. Ice it first. When it feels like the swelling is slightly down, put a poultice on. Choices are:

1. Comfrey makes the bones and connective tissue grow back. Yes, it increases the speed at which they rejuvenate. Make a comfrey poultice by putting a fresh, pin-rolled leaf on the injury, or a rag soaked in comfrey tincture or medicinal tea. Be careful, comfrey stains.

2. Lemongrass also makes connective tissue heal. Make a tincture or a super strong tea, or go the easy way: buy the essential oil by Young Living.  Order from: http://www.youngliving.us/products.asp   or call 1-800371-2928 and give my number, 609503. 

This is convenient because there are no rags etc, you just sprinkle the essential oil and massage into the tissue. It is great for traveling. The flip side is that it is a lot less potent than comfrey. However, it is great for lesser injuries.

3. Ginger just increases circulation, which helps indirectly to rejuvenate the tissue. Grate fresh ginger and make a strong tea out of it. Then put the grates and the tea into a rag and put it on the injury. 

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For smaller strains, i.e. when there is no "pop", you can also use homeopathic Arnica remedy. Warning: it won't change your tissue, it is just a bandaid. Do not use it all the time.

Arnica homeopathic is great for bruises.

For smaller strains you can also use lemongrass essential oil, or live Noni or lotion.

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For regular maintenance after workout, you can massage in some sports massage oil, with pepermint, birch, wintergreen, camfor, etc. Warning: do not do this all the time because you will become "immune". Weleda has wonderful Arnica oil that works well, Young Living has Sports massage oil, etc. Check out what works for you. This is the kind of thing you would use for "special" occasions when you need to stay away from being sore, e.g. when you are out competing, on some of the "normal" training days, etc.

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For truly regular maintenance, after your workout take a hot shower or bath, with some sea salt, and even apple cider vinegar. Epsom salt is good too but it does injure the kidneys so some people feel bad after soaking in it. 

Even just a hot towel after a workout will help your muscles stay warm and not go sore on you. 

Lift the legs up and massage them up to get the blood flowing back towards the heart. Do the same with all limbs.

How to accomplish all of this? After shower/bath, briefly massage some nice lotion or oil into your skin, using massage-towards-heart moves. In two minutes, you will be feeling brand new.

 

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