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OUCH! I’VE CRASHED, NOW WHAT?

MTB crash If you’ve ridden long enough you have likely hit the dirt or pavement at least once. It is part of the learning process unfortunately. When I first started riding mountain bikes in the early 90’s I had no fear and no skill which was a bad combination. My wife would give me the once over after each ride to determine what I had done this time. After countless abrasions, a separated shoulder and helping literally thousands of injured athlete’s this is what I find helpful.

MTB crash davidLord willing, your injury is just an abrasion, or minor loss of skin as I did in tonight’s race. By this point in your riding career, most of you likely already have what you have found to be helpful. Many like Neosporin or the other anti-bacterial, lubricating gels. Others say cover it and keep it moist. I say clean it and let it heal. After dealing with 100’s of personal abrasions I typically prefer to use hydrogen peroxide immediately and regularly during the first 2-3 days while the wound is still fresh. The bubbling you see is the oxidation of bacteria and contaminants. On the occasions that I have had a race or epic event the day after a sizable abrasion has been procured, I will then use one of the available clear sealing bandages to keep the area soft, clean, protected and heat sterilized while I complete the event.

My initial treatment is to first spray or rinse the area with hydrogen peroxide, then scrub briskly with a soft brush in the shower and shave the affected area. This obviously is the least inspiring part of the process.  Immediately after drying off I will again spray or rinse the area with hydrogen peroxide. This is where many differing options come. I prefer to loosely cover the area with non-stick bandages to protect my clothes, other people and the sheets, trying to uncover and expose the area whenever possible. Then as a scar begins to form I may use a calendula cream or USF Ointment by Standard Process. FYI Using vitamin E before the scab is gone is more likely to exaggerate scarring. Vitamin E is most beneficial after the scab is gone for scar repair.

Now for more profound, less available insight.  Anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) can cause leaky gut syndromes, G.I. hemorrhage, decreased vitamin C and folic acid (both profoundly necessary for tissue regeneration), erosion of hyalin cartilage, and increased chemical sensitivity. NSAIDs inhibit the primary pathway in the liver (sulfation) in which new healthy tissue is regenerated. This is the process chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate hope to facilitate, though unsuccessfully if sulfation is dysfunctional.

injured muscleA drastically better option is to take proteolytic enzymes immediately following an injury. Even better yet, take them before the injury. How? If you are engaging in an event where there is a high risk of injury, like football, take them before engaging in the activity. If you are scheduled for a surgery, take 1-2 capsules 3 times the day before the procedure. Since they facilitate recovery as well, try taking 1-2 before a race or epic training event. Then, the magic happens when you take them hourly, away from food immediately following an injury or surgery. Take them every waking hour for 1-4 weeks following the trauma until you begin to feel mild gastric distress. Then reduce to 1-2 capsules three times per day until complete recovery is accomplished.

enzyme benefit chartDigestive enzymes, the main ones of which we are considering are proteolytic enzymes (protein digesting) have many beneficial effects. They reduce inflammation so synthesis, repair and regeneration of injured tissue can begin sooner. They reduce pain and edema, reduce scar formation and improve blood supply. All this combines to dramatically accelerate and enhance the recovery process, while minimizing pain sensations. See chart statistics from “Enzymes: What the Experts Know” by Tom Bohager and volumes of work by Dr. Evan Maladenhoff and his work with the Kansas City Chief’s.

Some of the commercially available sources of proteolytic enzymes are Wobenzyme, or Garden of Life makes a couple good enzyme products. You are looking for “Digestive enzymes” without HCl in them. Digestive enzymes without HCl taken away from food digest the protein byproducts of inflammation. Meaning they are naturally anti-inflammatory. This is what you want for injuries and training recovery. Some may contain the beneficial anti-inflammatory herbs of boswellia or turmeric which also aid in this process. Digestive enzymes with HCl in them are designed to aid in the digestion of meals and are used for a different clinical picture. Consider these if you have frontal or left sided headaches, sluggish digestion, bloating or constipation.

Another thing you should truly consider in a traumatic injury is good Chiropractic manipulation. Again after dealing with countless injuries both personally and professionally, manual manipulation as expertly done by a skilled Chiropractor shows tremendous benefit. I have treated many who have preferred that I use more conservative, passive style adjustments which I use often clinically. They get better. However, the outcome in full recovery, speed of recovery, and renewed proprioception (sense of balance) is far greater when specific adjustments are rendered.

Cycling is a wonderful sport and the best way to maintain health that I have seen. If you encounter an injury, take advantage of the great therapies available to get you back on the bike ASAP!  Follow https://www.facebook.com/drscott.vrzal for regular health insights.

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