Compartment syndrome is so named because it deals with a part of your body feeling trapped by pressure. After swelling from an injury or bleeding from an accident, excessive pressure can build up inside the body by the injured muscle. When the pressure becomes too high, circulation is significantly reduced. The lack of blood flow to and from the tissue can cause permanent damage unless treated.
There are several causes of compartment syndrome including burns, blood clots, surgery, tight casts, and more. That is why it is so important to talk to your doctor when you have the symptoms of compartment syndrome. Your treatment will depend on the type of injury associated with the affected area.
Although you should not panic, you do have the option to visit the local hospital if you cannot see your doctor within a reasonable timeframe. Both acute compartment syndrome and chronic conditions might call for surgery because the ailment can damage your tissue so quickly. The operation is called a fasciotomy in reference to the open the fascia over the compartment. This allows the muscles to expand and have enough room to swell with increased space for blood flow.
In some cases, a fasciotomy does not treat the problem, so a fasciectomy is performed. This procedure involves removing part of the fascia. A skin graft may be required to cover the compartment if the fascia is unable to stretch to enclose it. You might have to take medications not only for surgical pain but as part of the anti-inflammatory process. Abdominal compartment syndrome is rare, but it is life-threatening and occurs after a traumatic car crash or accident that caused internal bleeding.
If you previously injured yourself and already have a cast, then that might be the underlying cause of acute compartment syndrome. This is the most common type and lasts for a limited amount of time. However, compartment syndrome can develop within hours or days of an accident. After talking to your doctor, he or she can remove any restrictions immediately and plan an alternative treatment for your injury. Blood circulation is sometimes reduced when using a brace, dressing, splint, or cast. Instead of healing the broken bone or sprain, the bandages made the condition worse by putting increased pressure on the area.
Athletes, dancers, and people who have a passion for working out are more susceptible to chronic compartment syndrome. It can last for several weeks and is caused by overtraining repetitive motions. For example, runners often feel shin splints in their lower legs. This sensation comes from when your body cannot adjust to a vigorous exercise. Rather than experiencing dysfunction in musculoskeletal tissue in your limbs, you can change your workout. Allow yourself to build up to more intense routines gradually.
Most people understand that you need a balanced diet and a regular exercise routine to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Although working out has numerous benefits including stabilizing your hormones, boosting your mood, and giving you more energy, you must provide your body time to rest between robust routines. Your muscles, ligaments, and joints all need time to repair, so avoid repeating a new exercise routine over and over again until your body becomes adjusted to it. If you don’t take time to rest in between dancing or other active hobbies you have a better chance of suffering from a physical injury. To prevent compartment syndrome, consider cross-training or switching up your exercise schedule and routine.
Your doctor may recommend you hire a physical therapist depending on your condition. If your diagnosis is chronic, but not severe, this might be the best nonsurgical treatment for compartment syndrome. You will undergo a series of manual exercises that promote mobility and stretching of the fascia tissue, which helps treat compartment syndrome by circulating blood flow around the affected area. Your physical therapist will know handy tips to help you like running on soft terrain compared to hard gravel or what kind of shoes to wear.
A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods cannot treat compartment syndrome alone. However, it can help prevent it from coming back. Fried foods, refined sugars, and artificial additives induce inflammation in the body. Since compartment syndrome deals with increased pressure, poor blood circulation, and swelling, it is better to consume foods with anti-inflammatory properties. For example, blueberries, raw oats, ginger, green tea, dark chocolate, wild salmon, and red peppers are all considered anti-inflammatory foods, just to name a few.
Reflexology is an alternative medicine that deals with putting pressure on certain parts of the hands and feet. Also known as zone therapy, some diagrams reveal how when you push on a particular spot of the foot the pressure can affect a different part of the body. Orthotics is another medical field in regards to feet. You can wear shoe inserts to help lower the swelling associated with compartment syndrome.
Besides reflexology, you can also try infrared sauna therapy to help treat compartment syndrome. Although it is an alternative to traditional medicine, people who use this treatment think it boosts the metabolism, removes toxins from the body, and heals wounds faster. Infrared sauna therapy also has anti-inflammatory effects similar to antioxidants, which fight free radicals from causing cell damage. Another natural remedy that can help treat compartment syndrome is massaging. Like other items on this list, a massage involves pressure points and relieving the body of tension and stress.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.