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Patient Resource Library

“If there is the slightest chance that a patient can be educated in the methods that enable him to reduce his own pain and disability using his own understanding and resources, he should receive that education. Every patient is entitled to the information, and every doctor should be obliged to provide it”.

Robin McKenzie, CNZM, O.B.E., FCSP (Hon), FNZSP (Hon), NZCP (HLM), Dip. MT, Dip.MDT

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First Aid for Acute Injuries & Pain

Sprains, Strains, and Sports Injuries

If you’ve suffered a recent sprain, strain, or sports injury, you should make an appointment to be seen within the first 24 – 48 hours, if possible. A thorough exam and X-rays, if necessary, will be performed to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. Before your visit, the following self-care advice (R.I.C.E.) is crucial to decrease pain and swelling and to speed the healing process:

It is important to protect the area from further injury by avoiding any possible stress or strain. Staying off your feet and/or avoiding any activity involving the injured area may be necessary for the first few days.

Ice therapy or cryotherapy is often thought of as the therapy of choice for acute injuries. Actually, the application of ice over any painful tissue is usually effective at any stage of an injury. It works by constricting blood flow to the tissue, thereby reducing swelling, pain, and muscular spasms. It is very important to use ice correctly. It should be used for a maximum of 20 minutes, but may be applied each hour. Also, it is important that you do not apply the ice directly to the skin. Instead, wrap the ice pack in a paper towel or thin damp cloth prior to applying to the injured area.

Compression is especially important to decrease swelling if you’ve injured your knee or ankle. Wrap the area with an elastic bandage using firm pressure, but not too tightly as to cut off circulation to your feet. Before going to bed, loosen the bandage a bit to prevent circulatory problems.

Elevation also helps to decrease swellling, which can interfere with the healing process. Whenever possible, elevate the body part as close to, or higher, than the level of your heart.

Spinal Injuries
During an acute attack of back and neck pain, you can usually:


If your pain is more severe, you may need some rest for a few days. Applying ice, or lying down might help as well.More specifically, many people find relief by lying flat on your back with the knees bent and supported by pillows under the knees. When applying ice, place a thin, damp cloth between the ice and your skin. Leave the ice on for 10 – 20 minutes.Repeat up to one application each hour, for no longer than 20 minutes at a time. But, only do this for a day or two; DO NOT think of this as treatment. The faster you get going, the sooner your back will feel better.

Build up your activities and your exercise tolerance over a few days or weeks. Even if you have pain and restrictions, get back to work and activities as soon as possible. If you have a labor-intensive job, do not be afraid to ask for help or alert your boss of your condition.

Seeking out chiropractic care at this stage will help you recover and get back into your usual activities more quickly.

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