(When everyone is closed & you can’t get in to see your therapist!)
Pain is hard to treat. Particularly if you’re on Christmas holidays and your back or neck starts playing up. Could have been the backyard cricket with the grandkids? Could have been lifting the boat off the towbar? Either way, it is Boxing Day and everything is closed and you’re stuffed.
Firstly, don’t panic. If the pain is chronic you can always go to the ED at your local hospital or there are many after-hours Doctor’s Surgeries open at unusual times these days. If you are in chronic pain, get yourself looked at.
If you’re being a bit of a princess and reckon you can tough it out (she’ll be right mate, pass me another beer), then here are a few survival tips to help you manage the injury until the 2nd slab of beers kicks in….
Trigger points (knots) are a factor in most of the world’s aches and pains. They can cause strong pain that often spreads all over the shop and they pop up like ants on a dropped sausage around other painful problems and injuries, making them quite interesting and tricky. Probably because of trigger points, simple self-massage is helpful for a surprising number of common pain problems. Even when trigger points are not the root cause of your problem, they may be aggravating it and producing some of the pain.
Just get your thumb into any nasty, knotty bits where you’re feeling the pain and work them out. If you’re a trusting soul, or have a death wish, get your other half to have a go. Hide any knives before asking….
The Old Hot Bath Trick. Give yourself a back rub with a ball in a bath.
Heat up a bath, throw in some Epsom salts if you think that would help, steal a tennis ball off the dog and jump in. The idea is simply to run a hot bath, and trap a ball between your body and the bottom or back of the tub to rub your back muscles — your buoyancy allows for excellent control with moderate pressures.
Careful if you’re working your Gluts; don’t sneeze or you might lose the tennis ball.
Prevention: Shutting the gate after the horse has bolted.
A major part of healing is prevention: that is, the prevention of re-injury, and so prevention is actually relevant even after you’ve buggered yourself up. Also, injury and pain problems tend to make people accident prone. When one ankle is sprained, it’s easier to trip and sprain the other one.
This is called “now you’re REALLY buggered,” and is amazingly common.
So you’ve set up the wheelie bin stumps ready for World Series Backyard Cricket, and there is no way your 12 y.o. grandson is going walk away with a century off your bowling. You deliver a screamer down at him and you suddenly remember that gravity really is a bitch and down you go. Best to retire hurt than try to deliver a bouncer to try to redeem your pride.
Heating: the most basic comfort
For moderate relief from aching muscle pain in a specific location, use heat in the form of a heat packs, or heat creams like Dencorub. The bonus is your mates will think you’ve just been to the Gym because you’ll smell like an athlete! A product called Fisiocrem, that we sell at our Clinic, is fantastic for relieving inflammation and muscle pain.
You may want to avoid hot tubs, showers, saunas, and steam rooms because, during a 40 degree summer day, they’re as welcome as a fart in a space suit.
Generally speaking, don’t heat recently damaged tissue such as ankle sprains or muscle tears. Both ice and heat may help neck and back pain. If you don’t have an icepack, grab a bag of frozen vegies out of the freezer or get a fresh beer from the bar fridge and place on the area. You should usually choose heat: ice is more likely to aggravate cranky muscles, and it’s a bit hard to drink the beer when it’s supposed to be resting on your aching bit.
This one is a beauty…. I call it “Tactical Resting”
The missus might call it “get off the couch you lazy slob”.
Rest is often underestimated or simply ignored as a factor in healing. Particularly for overuse (repetitive strain) injuries often from activities like catching too many large fish off the back of the 17 footer, a well-planned rest may be the only rehab strategy that offers any real hope of working.
Resting sounds simple, but it actually requires quite a lot of planning and organising to do it properly. There’s making sure the kiddies have enough sharp implements to keep them amused, timing your tactical rest while the missus is glued to Days of our Lives is important as is making sure that Dave from down the road isn’t going to pop in to ask you to help move a pile of mulch off the back of his trailer.
Too much rest can aggravate some injuries, so you need work out what works for you.
Get the Budgie Smugglers on and get in the pool!
Anyone with almost any kind of chronic pain should seriously consider spending more time in the pool (doing almost anything).
Pools can be a great idea for most people with almost any kind of stubborn pain, because floatation takes a lot of pressure off areas under stress. Pools are one of the few places where you can both be more active while also actually feeling safer. Except if you’ve been in the pool with the kids for a few hours and none of them have gone to the bathroom.
If your pool is as full as a centipedes sock draw with the neighbours kids and your rellies (who only visit you when their air conditioner breaks down), best avoid the human soup bowl until it’s quieter. Make sure they don’t bomb dive you or just the action of moving suddenly to avoid a well swung pool noodle upside your head, could jar your injured back.
If all else fails, your therapists at Applied Body Therapeutics can get it sorted for you. Our Clinic is open until 21st December and we'll be back on Monday 6th January 2020 - ready to fix your Christmas misdemeanours and we’ll have you standing taller than Shaquille O’Neal in a sea of Peter Dinklages!
Cheers & Merry Christmas