What are bruises?
Bruises (or contusions) are a sign of soft tissue trauma that are tender to touch. The damage can be seen through the skin, which is normally unbroken.
What causes bruises?
Injuries to soft tissues cause small blood vessels under the skin called capillaries to break. Red blood cells escape the capillaries and pool under the skin (this gives the bruise its color). As skin ages it thins and tends to bruise more easily.
Bruising easily can signify a medical problem that needs attention. Some possibilities are:
- A deficiency of vitamin K, which can occur when taking antibiotics
- A vitamin C deficiency
- Bone marrow isn’t producing enough platelets, which stop leaks in the walls of injured blood vessels. This is called thrombocytopenia and may be related to anemia, leukemia, or alcohol abuse. (A blood count can rule these out)
- A drug side effect (Ex. long-term use of corticosteroids such as prednisone, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, aspirin, etc)
*Seek medical attention if you have large, painful bruises, or if you suddenly begin bruising without apparent cause.
Conventional treatment of bruises:
- Apply a cold compress
- Elevate the injured area.
- Take an over-the-counter pain remedy: Ex. acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Well recommends the following natural treatment:
- Cold compresses to reduce swelling and pain
- Rapid Relief, a blend of therapeutic grade essential oils that promote healing by increasing circulation, reducing swelling, pain, and overall inflammation
- A tincture of arnica or arnica gel (also helps with sprains and sore muscles)
- Aloe vera, a succulent African lily known for its topical healing properties, soothes skin irritation and promotes healing