The best initial treatment of soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains and contusions is a combination known as “RICE.” RICE helps reduce inflammation that occurs after acute injury. It is important to remember that the earlier this is put into place, the more effective it is. In addition, the faster you receive physical therapy treatment the faster you can recover.
R = Rest: Rest and protect the injured area. If it hurts to bear weight on the injury, use crutches; if it hurts to move the area, immobilize it with a splint.
I = Ice: Apply ice or a frozen object, such as a bag of corn from the freezer, to the injury. The cold will reduce swelling and pain at the injured site. This step should be done as soon as possible. Apply the frozen object wrapped to the area for 20 minutes three times a day for the first 48 hours.
C = Compression: Compress the injured site by applying an ace bandage. This decreases swelling of the injured region. Although the wrap should be snug, make sure it is not too tight as this can cause numbness, tingling or increased pain.
E = Elevation: Elevate the injured area above the level of the heart as much as possible. This technique also will assist in reducing the amount of swelling to the injured site.
The posture that you maintain while at work is important, especially if you perform a job that requires you to sit for a prolonged period of time, work on a computer or use the telephone. There is no single “correct” posture or arrangement of components that will fit everyone. However, there are basic design goals to consider when setting up a computer workstation or performing computer-related tasks.
Consider your workstation as you read through each section, below, and see if you can identify areas for improvement in posture, component placement or work environment.
Posture – Why It’s Important
Good posture is essential — it’s good prevention. If you have poor posture, your bones are not properly aligned, and your muscles, joints and ligaments take more strain than nature intended. Faulty posture may cause you fatigue, muscular strain, and, in later stages, pain. Many individuals with chronic back pain can trace their problems to years of faulty postural habits. In addition, poor posture can affect the position and function of your vital organs, particularly those in the abdominal region. To have good posture, it is essential that your back, muscles and joints be in tip-top shape.
A healthy back has three natural curves: a slight forward curve in the neck (cervical curve), a slight backward curve in the upper back (thoracic curve), and a slight forward curve in the low back (lumbar curve). Good posture actually means keeping these three curves in balanced alignment.
Strong and flexible muscles also are essential to good posture. Abdominal, hip and leg muscles that are weak and inflexible cannot support your back’s natural curves.
Hip, knee and ankle joints balance your back’s natural curves when you move, making it possible to maintain good posture in any position. The best way to check your posture is to receive a thorough postural evaluation from a physical therapist. Physical therapists have special skills to evaluate and treat postural problems.
Only after a complete postural evaluation as provided by a physical therapist, can you identify your particular postural problems. At that time, you may be given specific exercises to correct them. Unfortunately, changes occur naturally in your body as you grow older. These changes can influence your posture and make it more difficult to maintain a good posture or correct a poor posture.
Changes in your posture
Some of those changes include …
- Muscles become less flexible.
- Compression and deterioration of the spine, commonly seen in individuals with osteoporosis, cause an increased flexed, or bent forward, posture.
- Lifestyles usually become more sedentary. Sitting for long periods of time shortens various muscles, which results in the body being pulled into poor postural positions, and stretches and weakens other muscles, which allows the body to slump.
- Despite the changes that occur naturally with aging, good posture can be maintained and improved. In individuals with severe postural problems, the poor posture can be kept from progressively worsening.
Tips for Maintaining Good Posture Throughout Your Life:
- Keep your weight down; excess weight exerts a constant forward pull on the back muscles and stretches/weakens muscles in the abdomen.
- Avoid staying in one position for long periods of time; inactivity causes muscle tension and weakness.
- Sleep on a firm mattress. Avoid use of over-sized or several pillows.
- Exercise regularly; exercise promotes strong and flexible muscles that keep you upright in a proper posture.
- Protect your back by using good body mechanics
- Wear comfortable and well-supported shoes. Avoid continuous use of high-heeled or platform shoes, which distort the normal shape of the foot and throw the back’s natural curves out of alignment.
- Walk with good posture; keep head erect with chin parallel to the ground, allow arms to swing naturally, and keep feet pointed in the direction you are going.
If you feel you need help with your posture, please give us a call!
Preventing Back Pain on the Job
You can take steps to prevent back pain and injuries at work: