After any procedure or injury, self-care becomes more essential than it normally is.
Average healing can take weeks-months, with a full recovery and return to “normal” being up to a year off.
Nobody really has time for that or the patience. We want to heal faster and there to be no scar.
What you do at home can really enhance your healing process, in essence speeding it up!
1. Infection will slow down healing considerably! Avoid infection by keeping the wound site clean and covered until it is no longer draining. Antimicrobial products are not always needed and may cause too much drying which results in tiny cracks in the skin which is a portal of infection. Another key tip is to wash your hands before ever touching the wound!
2. We expect wounds to get smaller and smaller until they are completely closed. Using the wrong product at the wrong time can lead to delayed healing. Moisture balance is key to healing and better-looking scars. Too wet can cause an incision site to fail and too dry can just be downright painful! The notion that you need to “let the wound air out” is been disproven and can actually cause more harm than good.
3. Once a wound is completed closed it’s time to start gentle scar massage. This helps tissue lay flat and prevents scar tissue from forming painful adhesions. Scar care massage can also help with pain and numbness associated with healing after surgery.
4. Nutrition is important. You can not heal without proper nutrition. Wound healing requires a lot of hydration and protein to promote new tissue growth. Most people struggle to get enough of both on a regular basis. Basic recommendations are to drink enough water that your urine is a very pale yellow color. Protein should be about 2g a day/Kg of body weight. That means your meals should be heavily based on protein and may require you to use a protein supplement to get enough grams in. These simple changes can help give your body a boost toward healing.
5. Stimulating the lymphatic system which filters toxins from the body. Methods for lymphatic stimulation can be quite simple and easy to do on yourself. They include deep diaphragmatic breathing (which also helps ease anxiety), drinking lots of water, and getting your body moving with simple activities like walking to get those muscles pumping.
written by Dr. Heather Flexer, DPT, CWS
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