Now, what to do when you find yourself on the ground? As soon as you recover from the first shock, make a quick check. Did you hit your head? If you’re not sure, check your helmet for damage. Can you remember your name and the date? If you fall and have damage to your helmet, the safest thing to do is call for someone to pick you up. See if you can stand up. This is not the case 100% of the time, but usually when a person can’t stand up there’s a good chance they’re truly injured.
It is very important to get out of the road or to the edge of the trail to avoid a crash with a car or another rider. If you are on a road and can’t walk, pull yourself to the side somehow. Cars don’t notice cyclists when we’re upright; so don’t expect them to see you when you’re on the ground.
There are two most common ways to cure minor injuries that don’t need professional medical treatment. People usually decide between ice and heat.
Ice is for injuries, and heat is for muscles. Roughly. Ice is for injuries — calming down damaged superficial tissues that are inflamed, red, hot and swollen. The inflammatory process is a healthy, normal, natural process… that is usually incredibly painful. Icing is mostly just a mild, drugless way of dulling the pain of inflammation.
Heat is for muscles, chronic pain, and stress — taking the edge off the pain of whole muscle spasms and trigger points, or conditions that are often dominated by them, like back pain and neck pain, for soothing the nervous system and the mind. Heat is mostly used for injuries which develop gradually over time because of repeated movement patterns or pressures, and not for traumatic injuries due to a fall. Examples of the former are IT band syndrome, ulnar nerve compression and back and neck pain, to name just a few. We’ll talk about them sometime later.