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In addition to the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), your doctor may discuss a number of different treatments for your injury:
NSAIDS such as aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, and naproxen sodium will reduce swelling and pain. All are available without a prescription. Another commonly available drug is acetaminophen (Tylenol), it will help relieve pain but will not reduce swelling.
Immobilizing the affected area is a common treatment for sports injuries. It will keep the injured area from moving and helps prevent more damage. A number of devices can be used including slings, splints, casts and leg immobilizers.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair a torn ligament or set a broken bone. However, most sports injuries don’t require surgery.
Your doctor will help guide you on the proper balance between rest and rehabilitation. Remember that all injuries need time to heal, and proper rest is important to the process.
In order for your body to recover, rehabilitation is almost always needed. This involves a series of exercises that help the injured area get back to normal. Moving the affected joint or muscle actually helps it to heal. Rehabilitation usually involves movement exercises initially, then stretching and strengthening exercises.
Keep in mind that as injuries heal, scar tissue forms. Then as the scar tissue shrinks, it brings the injured tissues back together. When this occurs, the injured area becomes tight and stiff. That’s why it’s important to stretch the affected area to help prevent injuring it again. When you can stretch without pain, swelling or stiffness, it is usually safe to resume playing again.
Other therapies for sports injuries include massage, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, as well as cyrotherapy and thermotherapy. Your doctor can help recommend a therapy that is best for your type of injury.