Healing Injuries: Doctors

(Originally posted on bcotoronto.com on Aug 30th, 2012)

Healing Injuries - DoctorsWelcome to the third and final week of the Healing Injuries series I’ve been doing here at BCO. This week we’re going to talk about what different doctors can do for you when you have injured yourself.

The first doctor that most people think of going to when they are in pain is a Medical Doctor but the truth is that unless you have broken something or completely torn a muscle they don’t know what to do with you unless they are a sports doc. The average GP will give pain killers and muscle relaxants for minor injuries and occasionally suggest ice and rest. These drugs will help decrease the symptoms of the injury but will do nothing to help heal it. In fact, many times pain killers will numb the pain so much that you think nothing of using that body part again and end up hurting yourself more. In some cases these drugs are appropriate but the majority of the time they are overkill.

When the skin has been broken or punctured during an injury then your MD may be the correct professional to visit. Initially, you should clean off the wound with soap and warm water or if the cut was particularly dirty or large with rubbing alcohol or peroxide and wrap it with a sterile bandage. If you start to experience signs of an infection; redness, heat, and swelling, then your MD is the person to see for the appropriate antibiotics.

DCs & PTs
On the other hand, Chiropractors (DC) and Physiotherapists (PT) are healthcare professionals who are trained to deal with issues of the musculoskeletal system, which almost all minor injuries are. Through the identification of the exact tissues injured, the appropriate approach can be determined and tissue specific care given. These techniques used by both DCs and PTs have been shown to decrease the necessary recovery time as well as increasing the function regained after an injury. Chiropractic care has also been shown to decrease the risk of injury in the first place as well as effectively manage pain in the case of injuries as well as general daily aches and pains.

Acupuncturists may not be the first healthcare professional you think of when you injure yourself but those who have tried it before swear by it for almost all pains. Acupuncture is a very effective treatment for pain management as well as injury healing. Through the application of local needles tissues can be targeted for repair. Research has shown that muscle and ligament healing times decrease with the use of acupuncture.

While the musckuloskeletal system is not a Naturopath’s (ND) primary focus their guidance can be extremely helpful with nutritionally aiding the body’s own resources to help repair and stimulate tissues. They can also do this through supplementation of the diet with vitamins and minerals as well as natural substances to help the body.

So all doctors have something to bring to the table, it all depends on your needs and wants at the time. I urge you, next time you injure yourself, consider what you have done and remember the best way to take care of it and who might be able to help you the most.

I hope that you have learned something about healing injuries over these last few weeks. If you missed any of the installments you can find the segments on Heat vs Cold and Immobilzation vs Stretching through the links. As always, if you have a question of comment, please leave a message below or e-mail me at drroffey@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading,
Dr. Ben


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