Injured individuals must not underestimate importance of rest

August 14, 2012

Topic: Orthopaedics

Resting an injury is essential to the healing process.

One of the most frustrating aspects of recovering from an injury, particularly for athletes, is the need to reduce one's level of physical activity. However, rest is one of the most important components of the healing process for orthopaedics issues, such as sprains, strains or other overuse-related mishaps.

"The fact is, you can't put a firm timeline on recovery," orthopaedic surgeon John McDonough wrote in a guest column for the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune. "The body doesn't know or care how many days or weeks have passed. The nature of each injury is different, and everyone heals at their own speed."

Doctors can help speed things along with the use of splints or braces to stabilize an injured area. Certain medications, such as anti-inflammatories, may relieve pain, but this can fool patients into thinking they are okay when, in fact, the drugs can slow down the healing process, McDonough said.

However, there are several helpful approaches patients may take according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). This includes RICE therapy: rest, ice, compression and elevation of the injured site during the acute phase following a mishap.

Meanwhile, it is important to modify exercise regimens in a way that protects the injury while allowing individuals to maintain physical conditioning. A doctor or physical therapist can provide good advice.

Furthermore, the AAOS suggests that a positive attitude can make the recovery process easier for patients.

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