In many cases, inflammation occurs as a natural reaction to an injury. Mild strains and sprains can also result in redness, tenderness, and pain, and often swollen joints. There are several ways to treat these symptoms at home.
Certain over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can help reduce swelling in addition to pain in affected areas of the body. These medications are often referred to collectively as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Those with certain health conditions or who are on other medications should speak with a physician prior to self treatment with NSAIDs.
Topical creams and gels that contain NSAIDs can often bring relief and reduce painful swelling of joints and tissues. In these cases, the medication can be applied directly to the affected area. This reduces some of the potential side effects from these medications when taken orally. Arnica is a topical herbal remedy that is effective in alleviating inflammatory conditions as well. Aloe vera gel may be effective for some individuals.
Bromelain, milk thistle, white willow bark, meadowsweet, boswellia, and comfrey are just a few of the herbal remedies that can be obtained over the counter for inflammatory pain relief. It is important to discuss these options with a physician or pharmacist if there are pre-existing health problems of if any of these remedies will be taken with other medications or supplements to avoid potentially dangerous interactions.
Self-massage to the affected area can help increase blood flow and increase the exchange of fluids to the affected area. This can help reduce fluid build up in an area and can be especially beneficial for treating swollen joints. Use firm but gentle strokes and be sure to work away from the affected area.
Heat and Cold
For the first 2 or 3 days following an injury, it is important to apply ice or cold packs to the affected area to reduce swelling and pain. If tenderness or swelling persists, switch to warm packs or a heating pad on a low setting. This will help increase blood flow to the affected area to help reduce swelling. Heat and cold can be alternated for 3 minutes each for 10 to 20 minutes several times a day.
It is important to have proper nutrition while healing. Increase fluid intake, especially water. Eat foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Fresh fruits and vegetables, especially blueberries and spinach, contain flavonoids to increase the body's natural healing response. Adding foods such as fresh pineapple, papaya, and onion can help reduce inflammation, as well as adding spices such as turmeric and ginger.
If pain and swelling persist, it is important to seek professional guidance for further treatment options. La Clinica has specialists such as chiropractors, pain management physicians, orthopedic/spinal surgeons, and neurosurgeons for complete care following an injury.
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