Last week we mentioned the acronym RICER in reference to treating acute injuries. This week, we thought it might be worthwhile to tackle another popular acronym – HARM.
While RICER is all about what you should do when you have an acute injury – HARM is all about what you should not do.
H – Heat increases swelling and bleeding in acute injuries as it dilates the blood vessels, bringing more blood to the affected area. Avoid heat packs, hot baths and saunas if you have an acute injury.
A – Alcohol will also increase swelling and bleeding – for the same reason; it dilates blood vessels. It can also delay healing by contributing to a build up of toxins such as lactic acid in the injured tissue. The dehydration caused by alcohol can also thicken the blood, increasing problems of swelling and bleeding.
R – Running and exercise should be avoided post-acute injury. It can aggravate the injury causing increased swelling, pain and bleeding, and the increase in body temperature caused by exertion can further exacerbate the problem.
M – Massage is generally believed to be harmful immediately after acute injury. However, there are two exceptions to this. Massage concentrating on the uninjured parts of the body can be very beneficial. By keeping the rest of the body mobile, post-injury stiffness can be reduced. There are also gentle ‘recovery’ massage techniques used by professional Remedial Massage Therapists that can be used on injuries to help keep the area mobile whilst minimising heat generation. This is why it is vitally important to only see a qualified Remedial Massage Therapist – especially when you have an acute injury.
So next time you experience an acute injury, or if you are suffering from chronic injuries that require attention, call or email our Baulkham Hills Clinic to book in with one of our Diploma qualified Remedial and Sports Massage therapists to help get you back on track – without doing any HARM.