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We are often asked for First Aid advice for treating acute pain. This is very difficult as we are all different.
However, we believe that the correct management depends primarily upon an accurate diagnosis. This is often reached by a process of self-diagnosis or a diagnosis arrived at following a consultation with either your GP or with a practitioner who specialises in the treatment of pain.
We often suggest the following self-help measures, as they can often be helpful :
In the acute phase of an injury, often having arisen as a consequence of physical over-exertion i.e. lifting something too heavy, after strenuous exercise, local trauma (a knock or blow to part of your skeleton) we suggest these basic first aid measures :
- Rest – This doesn’t mean taking to a bed, the floor or a chair for significant amounts of time. It means resting i.e. non-weight bearing with frequent periods of gentle activity. This is often called ACTIVE REST.
- Ice – a cold compress, gel bag or a frozen bag of peas wrapped in a cold, damp tea towel can be applied to the site of injury/strain. This can be done for 5-10 minutes hourly. Never put ice directly onto the skin as it can burn. If after three applications of a cold compress there has been no improvement, then try applying heat in the form of a wrapped hot water bottle, again this can be done for 5-10 minutes hourly.
- Compression – limbs or smaller joints can be supported with a tubigrip bandage to limit the amount of swelling that often follows a straining injury. Obviously this can not be applied to the back or neck.
- Elevation – injured, swollen joints are often helped by elevation i.e a tender, swollen ankle may benefit from being supported in an elevated position for periods of time throughout the day.
Please remember that if your pain is not showing signs of improvement within 24-48 hours then we advise that you contact either your GP or a healthcare practitioner that specialises in the diagnosis and management of pain. If you consider that your symptoms are rather confusing and do not appear to match the causative factor then consult a healthcare practitioner. Patients also find that NHS Direct (0845 4647) can be helpful.