PREVENTING ACUTE INJURIES

Apr 27, 2020

If you are living with chronic pain, you’re already well aware of what you don’t need in your life: extra work, more stress, and more pain.

It seems obvious to include “more pain” in this list, but some people may unknowingly adopt health habits that hurt their body and mind. 

This is yet another reason why education and planning are so important for chronic pain relief.

In order to appropriately manage your pain, you need to be keen to the activities and health behaviors that aggravate your symptoms, causing both short-term and long-term discomfort.

In addition to negative practices we should avoid, individuals living with chronic pain should incorporate protective strategies to strengthen their bodies.

Here are some of the BEST ways that you can relieve pain by preventing acute, or new, injuries from occurring. 

Joint protection 

You are probably familiar with braces and splints that shield your joints from unnecessary impact throughout the day. However, safeguarding your joints extends far beyond the use of devices. Joint protection strategies focus on modifying movement patterns to maintain our functional abilities. Here are some basic ways we can protect our joints to prevent acute injury: 

  • Wear supportive shoes: Poor footwear places undue stress on your joints and can easily lead to sprains, not only in your feet but in the knees and hips. Choose rubber-soled shoes with sufficient room for your toes and good arch support. 
  • Avoid the same positions: Prolonged posture (either sitting or standing) is not good for the body, which thrives off mobility. Alternate postures and take frequent stretch breaks. 
  • Manage your weight: Excess pounds add stress to the body’s joints, making us more prone to injury. 
  • Stretch often: This loosens your joints and prevents injury that may occur from stiffness. 
  • Opt for low-impact exercise: Continuous running or kicking may be a good workout, but it’s not the best for your joints. Use the elliptical, swim, or bike to partially eliminate the force of gravity through gliding motions. 
  • Make your home more accessible: Keep frequently-used items on low shelves, buy smaller containers and bottles to lighten your load, and utilize small totes and caddies to avoid multiple trips. Just don’t overload bags and make them too heavy! 

Energy conservation 

A similar concept used to prevent acute injuries is energy conservation. This lowers the amount of energy you expend throughout the day to prevent flare-ups, excess fatigue, and other unpleasant symptoms. Energy conservation can involve: 

  • Planning ahead to allow yourself ample time to safely get ready 
  • Sitting down for time-consuming activities such as getting dressed or showering 
  • Using long-handled tools such as reachers, sponges, and shoe horns to avoid bending 
  • Installing grab bars or railings near stairs for support throughout the house 
  • Doing chores little by little throughout the week or day to allow for recovery time 

Ergonomics 

These principles are similar to joint protection, but with more focus on posture. To follow good ergonomics, use these basic rules during any daily tasks to avoid injury from improper or unsafe posture: 

  • If possible, slide large or bulky items across the floor rather than lifting them 
  • When holding large items, use larger joints in your body (ex - use bent knees rather than the back; arms with flat palms instead of fingers) 
  • Hold items close to the body, relying on the torso rather than small, fragile joints such as the fingers or wrists 

By implementing these basic practices, people living with chronic pain can avoid further discomfort and prevent the onset of new injuries. Principles such as good ergonomics, joint protection, and energy conservation can not only prevent additional injury from occurring, but also help manage your existing symptoms.

You see, controlling pain, fatigue, swelling, and other health concerns will allow you to achieve the chronic pain relief that you really need. Learn how to implement some of these specific pain relief strategies by contacting a Pain Mentor today! 

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