Acute Injuries

What constitutes an acute injury?
The acute injuries cared for by chiropractors are generally sprains, strains and other traumas not involving skin punctures or bone fractures. Chiropractors are not the primary managers of traumas that are bleeding or broken; for example, my son recently shot a nail through his arm with a nail gun, we took him to the emergency room at the hospital, same as when he broke his arm. However, chiropractic orthopedists (FCCO) are permitted to set some types of fractures.

It is important to know that the severity of your pain, in and of itself, is not the primary determining factor as to whether or not chiropractic or rehab is the most effective form of treatment. It is not so much how much pain you have, but rather the cause of the pain that determines who should be treating it.

As with any health condition, no one knows what needs to be done until we have actually examined the patient. Chiropractors are well trained in how to recognize what they should and should not be treating. When in doubt a consultation/examination is usually the best course of action.

Home Care for Acute Injuries
We try to remember the acronym R.I.C.E. This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. This protocol is used usually for the first three days following an injury with an icing protocol used twice a day and rest meaning light activity, absolute bed rest is only used for very severe pain (8 to 10 on scale of 10). Generally an assortment of light activities is the optimal way to manage the resting phase.

A brief word about icing an injury. Large body parts, like the lower back, we generally use ice 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, repeat 3 times. As the body part gets progressively smaller, the ice on time diminishes so that wrists or elbows for example receive 10 minutes on and 20 minutes off.

Treatment Definitions: Canadian Chiropractic Association (Glenerin 1993)

Acute Care Program: Care directed primarily towards the relief of symptoms. It is designed to promote anatomical rest, diminish muscular spasm, reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

  • Provides pain relief
  • Decreases swelling and inflammation
  • Improves range of motion

Acute Injury: Describes a condition which arose during a period of 3 weeks prior to the patient seeking treatment. A true first time acute injury, given proper attention, will usually have a full and normal recovery in 6 to 8 weeks. Old or recurrent injuries may feel better in this amount of time but commonly require attention through the remodeling phase (12 to 14 months) of healing.

If you have more questions regarding your specific problem call our office at (780) 963-4608 to set up a consultation with Dr. McLeod.
This information represents only a brief summary of the conditions discussed and is presented as a public service by the Immanuel Healing Centre. For this or any other health problems about which you have concerns please consult personally with a health care professional.