B Stuff et cetera

A blog about (snow)Boarding and Business school

Dealing with common injuries

Posted by forlogos on December 6, 2006

I’ve dealt with a ton of injuries.  And I should’ve.  Before I started BJJ, I was into taekwondo (tkd) for about 16 years.  A striking art, ok kicking art, which have dealt me my fair share of cuts, bruises, aches, and pain.  Besides teaching, I also played all through college and was a very heavy competitor.  My best tkd years were in college, where training was just for competition sparring.  It was great.  We never practiced any forms (poomse) and just concentrated on conditioning, drills, techniques and lots and lots of sparring.  Which all lead to all sorts of pain.

Besides the mandatory chest armor, which is used so that it can make a loud sound when kicked rather than protection, I never used any other protection, other than shin guards when a tournament was getting close.  So I had hardened forearms and legs.

After training we used to sit in the gym, stretch, and ice all our injuries, usually on our shins and insteps.  We would even ice our injuries, I don’t know what they are called exactly – they’re not exactly welts or bruises – its when your bony parts swell up and hurt as an effect of getting hit, we would ice them much longer than necessary since we would just sit there and watch the ladies volleyball or soccer teams train.  Hehe.  Even after our training area was moved and we no longer had the ‘sights’ we’d still sit around, ice, stretch and talk.  Ice is really great for injuries.  They keep things from getting really bad.

Which brings me to RICE.  That’s Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.  All things that you should do to an injury.  And massage.  Don’t massage when it’s new, but massage later when it’s not new anymore.  RICE has really helped with dealing with injuries in the past and still does today. Rest is basically rest.  Don’t put stress on the injury, let it heal.  Ice.  Put the cold stop on to reduce and stop the swelling.  Numbness is also a drug-free pain reliever.  Compression – cover the injury and make it tight.  Not for all injuries though.  Elevation.  Raise the injury up to reduce blood flow and swelling.  Raise it so it’s higher than your heart.  RICE is more for fresh injuries.  After the initial stage, you have to change the technique – like stretching and heat.

When I hurt my back last week, I iced it as soon as I got home and again after waking.  A few hours after the last ice application, I started applying heat.  Which is another important tool when dealing with injuries.  And you have to know when it’s best to use ice or heat.  I think the general guideline was to use ice in the early stage, one to two days, then heat after.  But really, it depends on the injury.  I’ve been hurt so many times I can basically tell which one I need based on feel, though it’s hard to gauge what another person should do since they can only describe their injury so much.  In that sense it’s better to be able to feel it.  And I don’t mean just the pain.  I mean the way the muscle/bone feels when you touch it and move it.  Depending on the feel of the injury you can also do alternating hot-cold therapy.  Apply 20 minutes of each, alternating for about 2 or 3 rounds.  Anyway, I used a heat patch on my back for about 10 hours and my back was all good again.  Compare that to the previous time where I failed to treat my back in any way.  My back was tight and aching in the worst way for days.  Treating the injury immediately dramatically reduced the length of the injury to less than 24 hours.

Those heat patches are great stuff.  They work like the toe or hand warmers stores sell during the winter.  They work on contact, just open the package and the things stay hot for about 8 hours.  Just stick it on where you need it and it’ll warm you up.  Long-term heat like that does an injured muscle miracles.  Don’t use the salon pas and other menthol pain relieving patches.  They make you smell weird and does not really work.  They work superficially, by masking the pain, but that’s it.  The heat patches on the other hand, work on the muscle level and really increase blood flow.  They also don’t smell.

My last injury, when I hurt my neck real bad by stretching it at work was handled pretty well.  I iced it immediately at work, when I got home, later at night, and the morning after too.  Following RICE was pretty easy.  I rested – didn’t go to BJJ, iced it, couldn’t compress it – I’m not going to choke myself, and elevated it.  Elevating it was easiest, all I had to do was not be upside-down, I do that all the time!!  I placed heat patches over the injury over the next two days.  My neck was much better after that.  I regained my usual range of motion and it doesn’t hurt anymore.  The muscles are tight and am going to have to keep stretching it.  I’m gonna be more careful this time, I never realized how scrawny my neck is.

Over my TKD career I also dealt with a broken/misaligned nose, two torn hamstrings, and several other bone, hand, foot, shin, and knee injuries.  I’ll save those for next time.  Ego injuries and beatings still happen at a regular occurrance.  You don’t even have to be in a sport.  Just take the NYC subway during rush hour.

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4 Responses to “Dealing with common injuries”

  1. Fantastic article! I practice TKD and BJJ myself and injuries are at the order of the day. I found your resource very useful and will apply the healing techniques you described here.

  2. Medic said

    What it is better at rehabilitation after a stretching of muscles? To me have advised only rest, but probably there is what that special means? WBR LeoP

  3. Great article and good advice. It is important that remember RICE. Thanks for reminding us. Hope you are doing well.

  4. forlogos said

    thanks for all your great comments!

    I’ll write a similar post in the future when my writing skills have improved a bit

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