If you are big on sports or other forms of physical fitness, chances are you have suffered an injury at some point in your life.
On top of being in pain, it is likely that the injury deterred you from continuing participating in physical activities. It is worth noting that getting an injury when doing physical related activities is not unique to you alone.
In a report released by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation a staggering 70 % of runners experience different forms of injuries every year.
How to Recover Healthily from A Serious Injury
Although enduring an injury and go through the recovery phase can be excruciating, you still have the opportunity to return to the field or track, and continue to participate in the physical activities that you love and cherish.
Bouncing back from an injury can be tough and agonising, however, there are certain measures you can implement to ease your recovery process and prevent your body from further harm. These tips include;
1. Finding Out the Extent of Your Injury
The moment you feel a sudden pain in any part of your body, the last thing you should do is make assumptions on what it may be. It is advisable to inform your symptoms to your doctor in order to ascertain the real cause of the pain.
While visiting the doctor, find out the exact area that has been affected and which activities you can’t participate in. It is your responsibility to inquire the extent of the injury, the expected recovery period and whether you need to see a physical therapist to aid your recovery.
2. Moving the Injured Muscle or Joint by Doing Low-intensity Exercises
Depending on the advice from your doctor, you should move the injured muscle to fasten the process of healing. The movement will keep the blood flow through the muscles and prevent the muscle from shortening over time.
You can also hourly stretch the muscle lightly for about twenty seconds. Make sure you do not overdo it as this can cause more damage to the muscle.
3. Watching What You Eat
The food you eat determines how fast your injury is going to heal. Some foods cause inflammation in the body leading to more swelling and damage to the injured parts. This is worse for soft tissue injuries which range from a strain to a sprain.
Your aim, therefore, should be avoiding inflammatory foods.
These foods include flour, refined sugars, processed meats, oils and foods with saturated fats. You should instead eat fruits, vegetables and foods rich in omega 3, as these will speed up recovery or soreness caused by a car accident.
4. Seeking a Support System
This is extremely important, especially if you are nursing some serious injuries. Surrounding yourself with family and friends will motivate you to get better.
You could also surround yourself with other people who are recovering from a similar injury. Having that company will boost your morale and fasten your recovery process. You should also create a network of caregivers.
If you are working with your physical therapist and a trainer as well, make sure the two are in communication with each other. This will create consistency in the recovery plans and therefore limit confusion on what you should do and what you shouldn’t.
5. Being Conscious of Your Body
Different people can endure different levels of pain. Remember to be honest with your trainer or physical therapist. Do not push your body too much when the pain is unbearable. If a certain exercise routine causes more pain to the injured part than before, communicate that to your trainer.
Take it slow and do not minimize the pain just because you are tired of sitting on the bench. If the pain becomes too much, discontinue your training until you are ready to go back. It is better to wait until you fully recover than going back when in pain, as this is likely to hurt you even more.
6. Finding an Alternative Activity
Having to forego a planned activity like a marathon or a game because of an injury can be very frustrating for you. You may be afraid of losing your cardiovascular fitness because of the injury. However, there are other activities that you can still do to maintain your fitness without hurting your body.
For instance, you can do some low impact cardio activities like cycling, swimming or an elliptical workout. This will not put pressure on your ankle the same way running would. Ask your doctor and therapist to recommend activities that you can still participate in.
7. Setting New Objectives
Now that you can no longer run that marathon or be part of the soccer team, you need to set new goals. This helps you feel like you are achieving something without putting stress on yourself. You can sign up for another activity a few months on and take your rehabilitation period as preparation for that activity.
Getting an injury should not make you a couch potato. If you cannot participate in another physical activity, you can set weight goals by deciding to lose some or maintain your current weight through a diet program. This will give you something to work towards and ease the recovery process.
8. Accepting Your Emotions
For some athletes, being left out because of an injury is more painful than the actual injury. You may feel angry, afraid, shocked or even in denial of the outcome. You could also feel a deep sense of loss likened to the feeling that you are grieving your old self.
This emotional turmoil may cause clinical depression if it is not looked after. Be sure to open up to your doctor about how the injury makes you feel. The doctor will be able to offer mental exercises that will help you accept your injury and fasten your recovery process.
Overall, you must keep in mind that getting an injury is common, especially in the world of sports and overall physical fitness. Take advantage of your recovery time and learn how to rest.
This is an opportunity to take some time off and recharge. Another way you can use this time is to strengthen your mental skills through meditation while practising positive self-talk and team-working skills.