If you’re an athlete, outdoors enthusiast or clumsy and prone to injuries, you’ve probably heard of RICE. It’s something that most of your doctors know, and what they have commonly told you to do: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
Sprained ankle? RICE it.
Torn rotator cuff? RICE it.
What to do with your rice cooker? Rice it.
Ok, joking on the last one. But in all seriousness, there is now a big revolution in the way we think about injury, inflammation, and what should we really do?
Introducing MEAT: Movement, Exercise, Analgesia (pain relief), Treatment (alternating hot and cold, acupuncture, etc.).
What’s the big change? Well if you look at the details of those acronyms, they’re almost opposite.
What was Rest is now Movement.
What was Compression and Elevation (so sitting laid up somewhere) is now Exercise.
These are some common recommendations that those of us in the alternative medicine field have known of and have been using for a long time. But now it is nice to know that my hesitance to fall in line with RICE recommendations is now more scientifically proven and that MEAT really is the way to go (sorry vegetarians, I didn’t make it up).
And the last important details (or disclaimers, whatever you want to call it):
-A sprained ankle may not just be a sprained ankle! There could be ligament or tendon tears, or a break in one of the many small ankle bones, so get it checked out by a healthcare professional.
-Don’t push yourself to recover so quickly that you end up hurting yourself further. Yes, movement is beneficial after an injury, but that means some gentle walking or yoga-like activity, not a half-marathon the day after.
I do offer a lot of support and treatments for acute injuries in my office, and also work closely with acupuncturists, massage therapists and chiropractors, so if you have any questions about this, please let me know!
Hoping you recovery swiftly and fully,
Further reading on the research and clinical findings of MEAT- check out this website.
Chronic pain is a wide-spread issue. Addressing pain management issues are complex and often ongoing and many times fraught with continued patient discomfort and dissatisfaction. For example, Vicodin is the #1 most prescribed medication in our country, but this doesn't do anything to treat or help heal the reasons for one's pain. So the more therapies available to treat chronic pain, the better!
Chronic pain is defined as pain experienced three months after the original injury is considered healed. Here are the top therapies for chronic pain (both in terms of amount accessed and evidence-based effectiveness):
* Anodyne pharmaceuticals (painkillers): Vicodin, Oxycontin, muscle relaxers, etc.
* Biofeedback: by observing a bodily rhythm or signaling via computer imaging, the patient impacts their experience. A simple type of this is breathing patterns adjusted by looking at a monitor displaying one's blood pressure.
* Meditation: Mindfulness meditation has in particular been shown to decrease one's perception of pain.
* Hypnosis: Many methods and styles are available to change one's psychological responses.
* Tai chi: Chinese meditative energy movement styles which are often found to help with many chronic disease concerns (such as its effect on patients living with heart failure) .
* Awareness, concentration and expectation: patients perceived less pain if told the pain would end soon, were concentrating on a mental task or while concentrating on a picture of a loved one.
There are many therapies to address the acute pain one feels after a trauma or surgery. And they work quite well to dull your brain's perception of that pain. But when dealing with chronic, debilitating pain lasting months or years and affecting one's quality of life, there just isn't one "magic bullet" for everyone. The best approach will most likely comprise one or more of the above treatment options, while incorporating one or more healthcare practitioners who deal with pain management and find efficacy in dealing with underlying causes (a few examples might be massage therapy, Chiropractic care, acupuncture, Naturopathy, physical therapy or orthopedics).
Thank you for reading, please email me any time!
Watch, wait, hydrate- key points of fever management.
Fevers- a bane for busy parents rushing to get the kids off to school, and themselves to work. Worry-making in their speed and intensity, many turn to the medicine cabinet to see what can take the fever away fastest. Fevers are also a conundrum for those parents wanting to take a more natural approach to their family's medical care: to Asprin or not to Asprin?Well, I'm just a bit behind the times, but earlier in January (1/11/2011), there appeared in NY Times titled, "Lifting a Veil of Fear to See a Few Benefits of Fever." While much of the article was relegated to describing the quagmire of antipyretics (anti-fever meds), figuring out effective doses with what has on hand for the immediate situation of a sick child, there was also a pleasing amount of updated information dispelling the fever-as-boogey-man perspective that is so pervasive.
Towards the end of the article,I was pleased to see a quote by Dr. Janet Serwint, professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins, who said, “I personally think there should be much more education about this at well visits,” going on to say that she believes parents should learn about “the helpfulness of fever — how fever actually is a well-orchestrated healthy response of our body.”
Finally, some vindication for our doctors since time immoral who have praised and made use of the fever response in acute illnesses! These ideas are anything but new. These concepts were known all the way back in Hippocrates' time, who proclaimed, "Give me a fever, and I can cure the child." The fever was a necessary part of the process, not a negative side effect to be stamped out as quickly as possible.
The fever process is carefully regulated by an important, central part of the brain (hypothalamus), which is told via our immune system that there are pathogens on board. This causes our brain to re-set our temperature, first causing the sensation of chills (brain says, "we're too cold"), then as the immune system deals with the illness, the hypothalamus eases up and a fever develops then breaks ("we need more heat," then "ok, enough heat; we're done with the fever thing, time to sweat it all out").
Without the fever process, our immune defense is crippled in dealing with otherwise relatively benign illnesses. Without proper and complete immune responses, our body is less able to respond quickly and efficiently to the next round of similar bug going around later that year, or the next since it was never able to properly learn how to deal with the illness the first time around.
On the cautionary side (we are, after all, dealing with people here, particularly children), there is the concern about high fevers (over 104-105 degrees fahrenheit) inducing seizures. These cases should soon find themselves in urgent care, although epilepsy and subsequent brain damage has been dispelled as possible effects from high fevers. Again, the hypothalamus which tells the body to heat up has its own internal system that puts the breaks on the fever process before we enter danger zone.
So, the next time you come down with a fever, consider all the sides and potential self-treatments (contact your local Naturopathic Doctor for more information!), and for many benign acute illnesses (those things going around every year), rest and chicken soup may be just what the doctor (who has the most up-to-date and comprehensive knowledge on treatments) ordered!
Thank you for reading. I appreciate all those comments and suggestions I have received thus far. I always welcome your responses.