Kids deserve their own post. Certainly, all my other recommendations apply, but there are a few additional considerations, when it comes to children’s orthopedic concerns.
- Try to avoid pain pills of all types (narcotic, NSAIDs, Tylenol, natural stuff). I did an entire post on this. Getting comfy with the use of pain pills might start early. If you have children, please read that post. Our brain has an amazing capacity to deal with pain. It functions very well in your children…unless they think it doesn’t. Parents often ask for pain pills on behalf of their children, even when they aren’t complaining of pain!
- …and R.I.C.E. By now, you know what that means. Have a little fun with the ice. Make your own gel packs and ice cups.
Homemade Gel Packs
Ingredients: 2 c water, 1 c rubbing alcohol, 2 quart-sized Ziploc plastic bags
Fill one bag with the water and alcohol. Zip the bag almost closed and squeeze as much of the air out as possible. Then zip it all the way, and put it inside the second bag. Squeeze the air out again, and freeze. I like to make up a few, putting a paper towel or wax paper between, to keep them from freezing to each other. The alcohol lowers the freezing temperature and makes mushy ice rather than a hard block. It takes a day for them to set up. If, and when they start to leak, just transfer the liquid to new bags. I keep several handy for bumps and sprains.
Ice Massage Cups
Ingredients: Styrofoam cups, water
Fill the cup almost to the top with water. If you fill it all the way, when the water freezes, it will flow over the top. Once they’re solid, peel the Styrofoam down a little, so the ice is sticking out, like a snow cone. Then rub the injured place for 2-3 minutes. After about a minute, the skin gets numb and you can massage away! This is the one time you can apply ice directly to the skin, because you are moving it and are less likely to get an ice burn. Ice massage works well for pimples and rashes and for just about anything that hurts.
- Kisses, hugs and a little attention With children, we have to figure out how much and what kind of attention we’re going to give them, but their response to pain and stress starts young. I’m not here to tell you how to raise your kids. But I can tell you that kisses, hugs and a little attention work! There are extremes of attention and extremes of ignoring pain in children, and I’ve seen it all. Thoughtful attention, and getting that ice cup out of the freezer is good for most booboos.
- Children can injure the growth areas at the ends of their bones, which are weaker than mature bone and ligaments. So, there is greater significance to swelling and pain around a joint after an injury or repetitive exercise. Girls usually stop growing once they’ve started having their periods, but boys continue to grow into their late teens! Be more pro-active with injuries around joints in children, and plan to seek consultation with their primary care doc or orthopedist. The severity of the injury, degree of pain, presence or absence of deformity, wounds, and other factors will determine whether or not you should go to the emergency room, or can wait until the next day, with R.I.C.E. in the meantime.