We already know what vibration therapy can do with pain, but many are still puzzled whether or not vibration therapy can help with swelling. During injury, inflammation sets in, and in which swelling of the damaged tissues occurs. While there are treatments to alleviate swelling, little is known about the effect of vibration therapy on it.
WHAT IS SWELLING?
Following injury, the affected body part undergoes an inflammatory phase. At this time, damaged tissues still bleed, and in which swelling occurs due to the build-up of fluids. It is a normal reaction of the body to an injury as it attempts to protect the body part from further damage. It helps recruit cells that are responsible for healing and repair. However, when it won’t go down, it can cause more harm because it destructs and distends the tissues, causing pain and dysfunction.
HOW SWELLING IS TREATED?
When your ankle is swollen because of a sprain, there is internal bleeding in the area of the injury. We need to stop this by restricting blood flow to the area. As such, ice application, compression, and elevation are advised as these constrict the blood vessels and help in evacuating the excess fluid from the injured tissues. You are initially advised not to move your leg until a few days when the swelling has subsided.
CAN WE USE LOCALIZED VIBRATION THERAPY WITH SWELLING?
During the inflammatory phase, we need not want to interfere with the events that are taking place as the body is doing its part in protecting your injury. We need, however, to control the bleeding and so the swelling. It’s safer not to use localized vibration directly on your injury, but you may apply it to areas surrounding your injury to lessen the pain on related structures. Vibration can trick the brain not to feel pain and sedates you from feeling pain. But once the swelling begins to subside, you may apply direct stroking of your injury to help with the resolution of the residual fluids. At this time, the body is advised to be moved as frequently as possible according to pain tolerance and as advised by a professional. When all of the fluids have gone away, you may use localized vibration with greater pressure to help with the realignment of the growing fibers.
Guidelines on How to Use Vibration to Treat Swelling
- ACUTE PHASE (1 TO 4 DAYS AFTER INJURY): apply stroking of the surrounding structures to help with the pain. DO NOT APPLY DIRECTLY TO SWOLLEN AREAS.
- SUBACUTE PHASE (5 DAYS TO 2 WEEKS): gently stroke the affected area, moving from the farthest end of the injury going towards the body.
- CHRONIC PHASE (2 WEEKS AND UP): stroke the area with deeper pressure to help with the realignment of the growing tissues.