When we get injured or have pain it can be hard to determine if we need to seek help, or if just a little rest and ice is enough to get us back to our activities. Sometimes things are obviously more than we can handle, but other times pain can fluctuate and linger and we are not sure what to do. Here are 6 things to consider when trying to determine if you should seek help.
- Pain lingers more than 2 or 3 days with rest: If you have an ache or pain with repeated activities such as running or bending at work, you should stop that activity, find positions of comfort, elevate the extremity and ice periodically for about 20 minutes. If after 2 or 3 days of truly resting the pain still occurs it is time to seek help.
- Reoccurring Pain: If you give your pain a rest and it is feeling better, but as soon after you return to your activity the pain resumes, you should seek help. This may mean you have an underlying injury or compensation. Until you correct this you may continue to have pain, or worse to more damage.
- A Traumatic Event: Frequently injuries occur and are obvious. If you had a fall, crash on your bike, or roll your ankle and you have immediate pain, swelling, or discoloration, you will want to get it checked. Sometimes these types of injuries will heal quickest with immobilization, reduced weight bearing, taping, or bracing. Inappropriate stresses early can result in long term damage such as instability.
- Medication Does Not Help: If you normally are able to control your aches and soreness after activity with over the counter medications, but this stops working, something may be changing or worsening. Also, if you feel like you need medications to do a certain activity or need medication every time you do it, you should get evaluated. Long term use of medications can have adverse health effects. If you are needing meds that much you most likely have an injury or your body is not handling the stress well.
- Noticeable or Visible Changes: If you are in tune with your body, you will know how things generally look or work. If you notice swelling in a knee or ankle after a hike or run something is going on. Also your movement patterns may change. If you feel your running gait is different, or your not symmetrical with your swim stroke, or you can’t bend as well you may start to compensate for these changes in movement and create some pain or further injury.
Some of these things may just be minor issues and others may be more significant, but getting a professional’s opinion can get you the answer