Compression for injury treatment and recovery

Compression of an area forces the veins to work harder to move the blood in the area. Although studies show no real benefit to compression during exercise, it has been shown to dramatically improve recovery post-exercise. Compression clothes are the most common and easiest way to create compression, Localized compression can be achieved with bandaging.

Graduated compression is necessary to ensure the blood in the veins is routed towards the heart for re-oxygenation. Graduated compression means taking off the compression every few hours. This means you can help flush out lactic acid and even prevent varicose veins, swelling, blood clots and more. Good compression clothes are contoured and have a specific fit pattern to ensure adequate compression in the right areas.

Compression can:

  • Reduce muscle vibration and micro trauma to muscle tissues
  • Hold any ligaments and joint in line for improved efficiency
  • Bring more oxygen and nutrients to any injured area
  • Flush out lactic acid and waste in the blood stream
  • Keep out swelling in any joint
  • Help increase joint stability
  • Reduce over-pronation when running
  • Dramatically reduce your risk of blood clots from traveling

Follow the manufacturer’s fitting guidelines when trying on compression clothes. They should be very tight and difficult to get on and off. However breathing and blood flow around the body should not be affected. If you feel faint then the clothes are too tight.

Compression is best used for about an hour to 3 hours long with a break of a few minutes then repeated if necessary. In the case of surgery of major injury compression can be applied for a solid period of up to 48 hours.

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Treating Swimmers ear

Swimmers Ear

What it is: Swimmer’s ear is an infection in the outer ear canal, which runs from your eardrum to the outside of your head. It’s often brought on by water that remains in your ear after swimming, creating a moist environment that aids bacterial growth. Putting fingers, cotton swabs or other objects in your ears also can lead to swimmer’s ear by damaging the thin layer of skin lining your ear canal.

Symptoms:

  1. Itching in your ear canal
  2. Slight redness inside your ear
  3. Mild discomfort that’s made worse by pulling on your outer ear (pinna, or auricle) or pushing on the little “bump” (tragus) in front of your ear
  4. Some drainage of clear, odourless fluid
  5. Discharge of pus
  6. Feeling of fullness inside your ear and partial blockage of your ear canal by swelling, fluid and debris
  7. Decreased or muffled hearing
  8. Severe pain that may radiate to your face, neck or side of your head
  9. Swelling in the lymph nodes in your neck
  10. Fever

How it is treated: A doctor will use a scope to view inside your ear and determine the cause of the symptoms. Generally you will be prescribed medicated ear drops, pain medication and in severe cases antibiotics. Anti-inflammatories may also be prescribed to reduce swelling and to allow the debris to flow out the ear. You will administer the eardrops whilst lying with the infected ear upright to the sky. This allows the drops to flow the length of the ear canal. Once that has happened, try sleeping on your side with the infected ear down. This allows it to drain. You may not swim, scuba dive or fly as the water and pressure may exacerbate the situation. The infection should clear up in 3-5 days.

Rehabilitation: In future ensure you drain your ears of fluid each time you swim or plug up your ears to prevent it from happening again. Keep your ears clean and do not use a cleaning device too deeply.

What is RICER?

This is possibly the easiest and best treatment technique for many types of injuries and strains. Ricer should be used to help the body heal a lot faster.

 

REST – Using the injured area as little as possible. This allows the affected part to stabilize and heal.

ICE – Apply ice to the affected area. Wrap it in a cloth to prevent cold injury to the skin. Never use ice on a burn. Cold will reduce swelling.

COMPRESSION – Known to help stabilize the area and also encourage increased blood flow. This decreases swelling and increases the rate of recovery. Compression can be achieved with bandages and strapping.

ELEVATION – Limbs should be raised above the heart as it allows for gravity to push the fluids back towards the heart. It reduces swelling and can increase the rate of recovery.

REHABILITATION – Normally a regime of stretching and specific exercises designed to gain strength and mobility in the affected area once it starts healing. Many times after surgery you will begin stretches and exercises as little as 24 hours after going under the knife. Rehabilitation should be supervised by a health professional.