Friday, November 20, 2009

Don't Ignore Aches And Pains

(NAPSI)-Staying active can keep you healthy and feeling younger. Whether it's recreational sports, going to the gym or just working around the house, physical activity helps both body and mind.

Sometimes an active lifestyle may lead to minor strains, sprains, and bruises, but there are ways to minimize injury. One way to prevent minor injuries is to slowly strengthen muscles with exercise. Before starting an activity--whether it's cleaning the garage or going for a jog--it's important to get your blood pumping by stretching and warming up.

If you do get injured, know when to consult a health care professional. Nearly 60 percent of people with acute back pain or other minor muscle strains and sprains did not see a health care professional for their pain, according to a recent American Pain Foundation survey of 2,192 Americans. Many of them said they felt they could tough it out. Experts say this isn't the best approach.

"Because minor strains and sprains are common, people can underestimate their possible long-term effects, especially if not properly treated," said Dr. Bruce Thomas, a physician at MIMA Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine and Assistant Professor of Family Medicine/Sports Medicine, Florida State University College of Medicine.

Treatment of minor strains, sprains, or bruises may include resting and icing the injured area. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used to help decrease the short-term pain. These can be taken by mouth or in a patch that goes on the skin.

More tips can be found online at RealAge.com/StrainsAndSprains. The site also has a quiz to help you find out if you need to see a health care professional about your injury.

It's important to take proper care of even minor injuries to reduce the chance of a more serious problem later.

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