Almost every athletic spinal cord injury comes with a certain amount of pain and inflammation. Controlling these side effects as fast as possible after the injury occurs will not only make you more comfortable, but it will also help accelerate the healing process.
Easing Pain During Spinal Cord Injury Rehab
Reducing the pain associated with spinal cord injuries can be achieved in a number of ways, including:
Pain medication - Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can help relieve pain during spinal cord injury rehabilitation, but they might also come with unwanted side effects. If you want to avoid medication during recovery, let your doctor know that this is your goal so you can work together to determine the best path forward.
Cold therapy - The application of cold has long been proven to help reduce pain by temporarily deadening nerve endings around the treated area. Because the effect is only temporary, it is important to regularly re-apply cold throughout the recovery process.
Active compression - In combination with cold therapy, active compression helps remove edema and reduce swelling, both of which contribute to pain reduction.
Massage - Some athletes find that medical massage helps alleviate the pain associated with spinal cord injury rehabilitation. When going this route, it is important to work with a qualified provider who understands spinal anatomy and the treatments that are appropriate for your particular condition.
Alternative therapies - Many people have found that alternative therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, and herbal remedies are helpful in the reduction of pain. As with massage, it is important to work with an experienced provider that you trust and to understand all of the potential negative effects if the treatment is not properly administered.
Obviously, it is best to avoid any type of athletic injury in the first place, particularly those that might result in damage to the spinal cord. It is critical that coaches and trainers teach athletes proper technique for tackling, wrestling holds, gymnastic maneuvers, and any other type of athletic activity that involves intense movement of the spine. Additionally, neck- and back-strengthening exercises should be emphasized not only during active training, but also in the off-season.
If you want medication-free pain relief that is proven to be effective, ask your doctor or trainer about Game Ready. The combination of simultaneous cold therapy and active compression is proven to provide longer-lasting pain relief than ice packs alone. Specialized wraps that conform to your body, whether your injury is in the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar spine and make treatments comfortable and easy to administer multiple times a day. Ask your doctor, physical therapist or trainer about Game Ready for your spinal cord injury recovery, or find a provider near you today.