Connection Points: Treating Injuries to Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
By Martha Michael
Your health routine may be the same old song, year after year. Over time, there are threats to our wellness that can be diminished by being vigilant. Our torso protects our vital organs, but our extremities are incredibly useful -- yet susceptible to the rigors of daily living. Few of us escape unscathed.
The children’s song, “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” which has been viewed 448 million times -- that’s not a misprint --addresses the importance of good health to our society’s youngest members. Taking our cue from that, we’re at an advantage when we seek immediate care following an injury head to toe.
Needless to say, keeping your head on straight is of utmost importance. But as idiomatic as that may sound, there are degrees of physical injury that can affect your comfort and may be more serious than you think.
An article in Medical News Today discusses different levels of injury to the head.
A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, occurs when you’ve had an accident that causes the brain to twist or bounce in the skull. It often causes bruising or a blood clot, called an intracranial hematoma or ICH. What results from an ICH depends on the size of the injury and the location of the damage.
A concussion is a TBI that occurs when a brain injury causes a temporary cessation to its function. Serious impact can cause a penetrating head injury, where there’s a break in the skull and the brain is punctured. Besides visible signs of injury, symptoms of a head injury may include confusion or changes in concentration and memory.
Regardless of the severity of your injury or its symptoms, see your chiropractor. You want a professional assessment to be sure you receive proper treatment.
Your chiropractor may use the Glasgow Coma scale to determine the severity of the injury. It involves testing your:
- Ability to open your eyes
- Motor response
Recommendations by your chiropractor may include the use of a cold pack to reduce swelling. Also, a patient should be closely watched for the first 24 hours following a concussion to be sure he/she doesn’t become unconscious.
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, the shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body as evidenced by its wide range of motion and flexibility. But it’s also not very stable, which makes it easy to injure.
The most common shoulder injuries occur in athletes and kids whose ligaments are stretched by their excessive movements. Sports involving pitching and tackling have the highest risk of causing shoulder problems.
Symptoms of shoulder injury may be as minor as a weakness in your arm or a feeling that something is loose in the joint. A sprain, or shoulder separation, occurs when ligaments holding your clavicle together are torn, in which case you may notice a bump develops on your shoulder.
One of the most common causes of a shoulder sprain is blocking a fall. You typically experience severe pain and a decrease in movement when the shoulder is separated.
You should apply ice to reduce swelling and treat pain immediately following the injury. Your chiropractor may recommend limiting your arm’s movement through the use of a sling as well. If your shoulder is dislocated, the chiropractor can use gentle traction to put it back in its socket.
One of the joints that’s most prone to injury, your knees are vulnerable to twisting, falls or being hit by a heavy object. Athletics are often the cause of tears in the ligaments, which include the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), and the medial collateral ligament (MCL).
According to the Arthritis Foundation, the most common injuries of the knee include:
- Dislocated kneecap
- Loose bodies
- Torn meniscus
- Injuries to the tendon
To treat knee pain, your chiropractor may recommend exercises that strengthen the muscles supporting the knee. By building strength in your quadriceps, you can minimize pain and reduce your chance of developing osteoarthritis.
We’ve all stubbed our toes, which sometimes is as serious as a sprain, but most of us have not experienced a more acute injury such as a broken toe. Because we need them for mobility, injuries to the foot are debilitating, and if not treated properly may result in permanent impairment.
The first clue you have a toe injury is intense, throbbing pain, says an article in Healthline. Victims of a break sometimes hear a cracking noise and a bone typically swells after fracturing.
You may also see discoloration from bruising and you won’t be able to put your full weight on the affected toe. If it’s just a sprain it shouldn’t appear misshapen, but a bad break will dislocate your toe, causing it to lie at an angle. Also, in the case of a break, the pain emanates from the point of the fracture, while a sprain may result in throbbing from a broader area.
To avoid a chronic condition, see your chiropractor immediately after injury. Having an expert set the toe in position and treat your pain will ensure the healing process is shorter and minimize the chance of nerve damage. Your chiropractor will likely suggest rest and possibly icing the area of injury.
Even when the days of jumping rope and hopscotch are behind you, the risk of injuries to your head, shoulders, knees and toes are still possible. And though the chance may be itsy bitsy compared to your younger years, you can reduce the odds of developing chronic problems if you see your chiropractor right away.
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