Today I was reminded of the option of conventional medicine vs natural medicine in the case of a minor injury. My friend this morning was biking to work and went flying off the handle bars and landed on his face. He called me and I immediately went to pick him up and assess the situation. In the case of an accident or injury please find a medical professional to assess whether or not you need to go to urgent care or the emergency room. If you do not know if you should go, err on the side of caution and get medical care immediately. If there is obvious trauma, such as bleeding, broken bones or concussion/contusion call 911 or get to an emergency room asap. In this case my friend was bruised and scrapped up but did not suffer a concussion or any broken bones. So in this case in which there is a minor injury here is what could be done.
1. Any open wounds or scrapes needed to be cleaned with soap and water. If the wound is bleeding apply pressure to the wound and use gauze or the cleanest material you have on hand. Scrapes or very minor wounds may not needed bandaging and often heal better when left to breath. Limit bacteria getting into the scrape/ wound.
Natural option: Apply a topical salve to cuts, scrapes or wounds that can heal up the process and allow the wound to heal nicer and with minimal scarring. Look for salves that have calendula, lavender, comfrey or St. John's Wort.
Traditional option: Use Neosporin and apply this to cuts, scrapes or wounds to reduce bacterial infections and allow for better healing.
2. Apply ice, if needed. Sometimes a banged up knee or elbow is a good candidate for ice especially when there is a lot of redness and swelling. In the instance of this case in which my friend fell off his bike, I did not apply ice. It was very cold and rainy outside and when I picked him up he was shivering and soaked---this is not an optimal situation to add more cold.
3. Take something to relieve the pain. The honest truth is that accidents hurt and most of us do not just want to walk it off. This is where you have the most options in terms of natural vs conventional.
Natural option: Traumeel is one of the best remedies to have on hand. Traumeel comes in a cream, gel or homeopathic tablets. It is a homeopathic blend that you can apply externally onto the wound or take internally. Do not apply it on an open wound though. If the wound is open apply it around the area of the wound. Arnica is another amazing option. Like Traumeel, Arnica can be taken internally or found as a cream/gel to be applied externally. Both of these options will help with pain reduction, decrease swelling, and help wounds heal faster. Other options are natural anti-inflammatories such as tumeric which can be found in capsules, fish oil, or salix alba in tincture or capsule form. My favorite anti-inflammatory pain relieving supplement is White Willow Plus by BioGenesis.
Traditional option: This is the option most people know and use. This is tylenol, advil, etc. This is the one I least recommend but in a bind make the best choice possible.
4. Rest! Do this please! Let your body recover because falling hard or injuring yourself is a shock to the body and it will need time to recover. Resting allows for quicker recovery, less swelling and greater blood flow.
5. Optional: If you can, schedule an appointment right away with your acupuncturist or chiropractor to get yourself fixed up. A hard fall off a bike could cause misalignment in your skeletal system that could lengthen the time of recovery or lead to more issues. An acupuncturist could help restore better blood flow and qi in areas that could have been damaged.
6. Stay hydrated and eat as healthy as possible to reduce inflammation. This is not the time for ice cream but instead choose whole foods that are not fried, not salted, with no added sugar.
*Please consult a medical professional if any questions arise. This information is not meant as treatment. Also seek appropriate medical care.
In Love and Health,