Have you ever been working, moving, or just rearranging the house when you bend down to pick up a box and felt a strain in your back? It’s likely that you brushed it off, joked you are getting older than you’d like to admit, and then went about your day.
Far too often, however, this scenario turns into a long-term issue that becomes a real handicap later. Maybe it isn’t a back, but a twisted ankle, a bump on the head, or a bruised elbow. When this happens, it can be tough to pinpoint exactly when the pain started or how to treat it.
After all, many rehab facilities and doctors will want to know when the pain started, and if put off long enough with ibuprofen, this can be a tough question to answer. If trying to get workers’ compensation from this kind of situation, forget it.
So what do you do? Visiting the doctor for every small bruise and bump in life is not realistic, but at the same time, waiting until the pain is unbearable likely means weeks of rehab, possible surgery, and high medical bills.
The answer is somewhere in the middle.
This step is especially true if at work and there could be a workers’ compensation case involved. Taking pictures and documenting exactly what happened will be key evidence in not only having a good case to file and fight, but it will also provide a timestamp of exactly where and what caused the injury.
This can also be helpful for doctors who may be trying to help later on if an appointment is needed. A doctor may ask exactly what was being lifted when the back injury occurred, and having a picture of the box or object will help with a diagnosis much faster than misguessing the weight and size from memory.
Take Time to Assess the Situation
If an ankle is tweaked, rather than just brushing it off as something that will improve soon, take time to monitor and see what is going on. Walk on the ankle slowly with non-bearing weight to see if the injury is pressure based or not. Take mental notes of how everything feels after two minutes, five minutes, and ten minutes.
Again, all of this information will be important to know later on if visiting a doctor. The diagnosis of an immediate sharp pain in an ankle that doesn’t get better at all is much different than one that gets progressively worse an hour after the incident.
Taking this time will also help to determine if there are any other injuries. Sometimes an ankle may be sprained from falling down, but what isn’t noticed is that there is also a bit of pain in the hip. Taking time to assess and monitor everything will help to determine all of the injuries and pain going on.
Treat the Injury
Again, this is for minor injuries. If a bone is likely broken or blood is involved, getting professional help immediately is always the way to go. With minor injuries, however, self-care is often enough to heal.
Any Walmart or pharmacy sells first aid equipment for common minor injuries, whether that be an ankle sleeve, wrapping, or a back brace. Along with taking pictures, notes, taking time to assess the injuries, and having these basic first aid products, most injuries will cure themselves with time and no other treatment will be needed.
Stay Calm and Relax
Odds are, the small injury will actually end up going away. Nine out of ten times, a small ankle sprain will heal itself, and within a week, it will be a distant memory. The key is to monitor and record with the assumption that the precautions being taken are nothing more than precautionary.
Not jumping to conclusions or imagining the worst are just as essential because going to the doctor or filing for workers’ compensation with an injury that isn’t serious can result in high doctor bills, a bad work reputation, and a lot of wasted time.