If you're looking for how to reduce swelling following an injury, seeing a chiropractor may be right for you. As experts in the body's musculoskeletal system, an experienced provider knows how to stop swelling as quickly as possible, improving your road to recovery and enabling you to get back to daily life. Knowing what causes the reaction in the body and what helps with swelling are two things that chiropractors are excellent for consulting.
Sports and injury chiropractors can perform both in-office treatments and guide you on what to do at home to maintain your recovery between visits. At ChiroCare of Florida, we help patients learn how to reduce swelling through various holistic and natural techniques.
Keep reading to learn more about what causes this reaction after an injury, what helps with swelling, the differences between medication and a more natural approach, and how a chiropractor can help.
What Causes Swelling?
Swelling, also called edema, happens when tiny capillaries (blood vessels) leak fluid into your body. Since the fluid has nowhere to go, it accumulates around the surrounding body tissue, causing the area to appear inflamed or swollen.
Many things can induce swelling, such as an underlying disease, pregnancy, medication, water retention, and more. However, the most common cause of localized swelling is from an injury to that part of the body. Trips, falls, bangs, and other injuries can lead to edema shortly after the point of impact.
The feet and ankles are the most common body parts to swell, though other areas can also become inflamed. Tennis and Golfers' elbow can result in swelling, a sprained wrist can become swollen, and rotator cuff injuries are other injuries that can result in edema. It's particularly common among athletes who often perform high-impact sports on the field. Runners, basketball players, and soccer players are all likely to jam an ankle or come down wrong on a foot or knee at one time or another.
However, many injuries resulting in swelling happen in those who don't play sports, too. A simple trip and fall after you lose your balance can cause your ankle or knee to swell. Additionally, injuries from car accidents, manual labor, or simple everyday accidents can all cause fluid to leak around the affected area. This is your body's natural response to an injury and a step in the natural healing process.
Some medical conditions can lead to chronic swelling, though most cases are acute. The onset of swelling following an injury typically occurs within the first 24 hours of the initial incident. You'll most likely experience pain in the area, which may appear red or warm to the touch.
What Helps Swelling?
When looking at how to reduce swelling, there are several methods that experts often recommend. Combining each recommendation will provide you with the best results, helping you feel better faster.
The most important thing to do is to rest. Using the swollen body part will strain the area continuously, worsening the condition and possibly leading to a more severe injury.
Next, be sure to apply a cold compress to the affected area as soon as possible. The sooner you can do so, the better, as it restricts the blood flow, which results in edema. Do this several times a day for 20 to 30 minutes at a time in the first several days following an accident.
Compression therapy is also a great thing to look into when learning how to stop swelling. Applying pressure to the area is another way to restrict blood flow. Using the proper bandages and devices for this is critical, as you don't want the site to be constricted too tightly. Consult a chiropractor to learn what type of compression treatments may be right for you. There are several different bandages you may apply, along with sturdier medical devices such as leg boots, braces, and more. A chiropractor will know which course of treatment is right for your specific injury.
Additionally, try to keep the area as elevated as possible while it's swollen. This means keeping the body part above your heart, reducing blood flow to the spot. Keeping swollen feet and legs elevated is particularly important to avoid excess fluid collecting at the point of injury. It can reduce the chance of blood clots forming in the area.
When learning how to reduce swelling, it will depend on what type of injury you have, what's causing the swelling, whether it's chronic or acute, and where your body edema is occurring. To get the best advice and treatment, seek the advice of an experienced chiropractor. Follow all your doctor's orders if you visit an urgent care center or emergency room after an injury or see your primary care physician.
Medication vs. Natural Treatments to Reduce Swelling
Over-the-counter medications can also help reduce swelling. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, are among the most popular OTC meds people keep in their homes. While they offer the benefit of pain relief, they can also help reduce edema.
However, it's essential to note that while these medications are popular staples in many households, they can come with unwanted and sometimes dangerous side effects. The most common side effects that people report are upset stomach, diarrhea, and gas. Long-term use of NSAIDs can result in stomach ulcers. These medications are meant to be taken only as needed on a short-term basis. Extended use can increase your risk for heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. There are also many dangerous drug interactions, so if you're on any other medications, speak with your medical provider before taking an NSAID to reduce swelling.
Alternately, natural methods to reduce swelling rarely come with lasting side effects. Some treatments may cause temporary and brief discomfort, but patients rarely report serious effects. Natural treatment methods can include acupuncture, turmeric supplements, cryotherapy, physical therapy, massage therapy, ultrasound therapy, and more. To ensure that a specific treatment is right for you, discuss your options with your doctor and chiropractor, review your medical history, and note any medications you're currently taking.
Never add supplements to your diet or vitamin regimen without seeking medical advice.
The Risks of Ignoring Swelling
Often, after a minor injury, swelling will subside on its own within a few days. However, this isn't always the case, and ignoring edema, especially if it lasts longer than this, can come with risks. You may worsen the injury, leading to more invasive treatments in the future. You may begin to lose range of motion in the area and experience increased pain. Additionally, more severe effects can take place as well.
You may become more susceptible to future injury in the same location or even develop an infection in the area. You may develop scar tissue between the layers of your skin, increase your risk of skin ulcers, and more. For these reasons, if edema does not subside quickly or you experience a major injury, it's essential to seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible.
How a Chiropractor Can Help Reduce Swelling
Many chiropractic offices, such as ChiroCare of Florida, employ various natural techniques that can help reduce swelling. Whether you suffer from a chronic condition or medical diagnosis that causes frequent discomfort or experience an injury, we have ways to help you feel better quickly.
Chiropractors take a more natural approach to treating edema, as they don't prescribe medication and instead focus on a whole-body holistic approach to treating the problem. Usually, treatment will take place over a series of office visits, with recommendations on exercises or actions to complete at home in the meantime to help manage your swelling.
Services that ChiroCare of Florida offers that can help reduce swelling include:
- Experiences sports chiropractors
- Injury chiropractic-specific treatment
- Ultrasound therapy
- Laser therapy
- Massage therapy
- Physical therapy
- 'Prenatal chiropractor care for inflammation related to pregnancy
- Chiropractic adjustments
- And more
Schedule a Visit Today
Whether you recently suffered an injury, have a chronic condition that causes swelling, or are experiencing discomfort from the swelling that often accompanies pregnancy, schedule an appointment at ChiroCare of Florida today. We have eight convenient offices throughout South Florida, with extended evening hours and weekend appointments available upon request.
During your initial phone call, we'll review precisely what type of swelling you're experiencing so that we can schedule you with the best doctor for your treatment. Additionally, we'll be sure to get your insurance information to confirm with your provider whether our services are covered and provide you with an estimated cost of treatment.
Contact us today if you need help learning how to reduce swelling naturally. Our expert chiropractors will have you on the road to recovery in no time.