Dr. Craig W. Brue
I recently had my finger crushed in a heavy door. How long did it take for the pain to start? It was immediate. I even remembered a naughty word when it happened. Within a few minutes the finger began to swell and throb. It wasn’t long before my fingernail turned black and blue because of the underlying damage.
When I got home, I put my finger into crushed ice to relieve the pain and swelling. A few ibuprofen tablets were taken to enable a restful night.
The next morning, I took a close look at the smashed finger. It looked bad. I decided that a trip to the Urgent Care office was in order. X-rays were taken, but there was no evidence of fracture. The doctor said she could drill a hole in the top of my fingernail to relieve the swelling but that sounded like adding torture to my already smashed finger.
The best solution that Urgent Care came up with was to splint my finger to protect it from being bumped and irritated. Within a very short time the additional pressure of the wrapping on my already swollen finger increased the pain, so I took the splint off and decided to simply live with the discomfort.
It has now been more than a year since I crushed my finger in the door and the tip of the finger is still numb. It’s obvious to me that I permanently damaged the nerve endings at the tip of my finger. What lessons can be learned from this unfortunate experience?
Lesson one: An injury only takes a fraction of a second, but healing takes time. Too often a patient comes into a doctor’s office wanting the magic cure; the magic pill, the magic shot or the magic adjustment that immediately relieves pain. Unfortunately, your body’s healing process doesn’t work that way. Repair and healing take time, so be patient.
Lesson two: Pills may help to relieve pain but medication doesn’t “fix” the problem. Why? Anti-inflammatory medications actually impede your body’s ability to heal and repair because these drugs inhibit your body’s knitting and clotting factor, the prostaglandins. Healing actually takes longer when you continue to take anti-inflammatory drugs. Your body will actually heal faster if you don’t take a lot of pain medication.
Lesson three: If you are in pain, do the simple things first. Ice significantly reduces inflammation and pain. For those of you with back and neck pain, simple spinal adjustments, simple stretches and simply resting more will help. My usual advice for acute back pain is to rest it, ice it and leave it alone. Your body has a miraculous ability to heal and repair and chiropractic will help you recover without drugs and shots.
My advice: put a great chiropractor on your health team if you want to maximize your health.
Dr. Craig W. Brue is an author, lecturer and chiropractic provider in SaddleBrooke, AZ.