How To Recover From An Injury

Posted on 18. May, 2011 by in Injuries / Rehab

How to Recover from an Injury

Injury recovery is a delicate subject.  In our litigious society trainers are taught to avoid injuring their clients at all costs, even at the expense of their goals.

The bottom line is, life involves risk and sometimes we get hurt.

Sometimes it’s a result of our training or maybe our job.  Sometimes, we get hurt just screwing around.

As far as I’m concerned, the real focus of an injury is not the injury itself.  Getting hurt is just another challenge to overcome, another obstacle that needs to be circumnavigated.

Remember, getting hurt may make for a great story but it’s how you recover that reveals you character, your spirit, your strength and your persistence.

During the acute phase, immediately after an injury, there’s not much you can do.  Remember the basics, rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE).

Don’t undercut those four elements of recovery, especially rest. If you can’t put weight on an injured limb, you certainly shouldn’t be trying to lift with it.

Ice counters inflammation.  Use it repeatedly throughout the day.  Get the area as cold as you can stand it and then remove the ice once you can’t feel the cold anymore.  Once you’ve returned to a normal temperature you can ice again.

Compression does two things.  One is to counteract swelling by physically compressing the tissues.  The other is to provide structural support.

Elevation helps with venous return, i.e. returning blood to the heart.  And thus works to remove waste from the tissues making room for fresh blood with oxygen and nutrients for recovery.

Once you’ve passed the acute phase and you can begin to put weight on the limb and start using it, it’s time to get back to work.

One of the worst things you can do for an injury is to nurse it too long.

Babying an injury too long sets you up psychologically, you become fearful of re-injuring that area and begin to favor it.  In this way you set up sub-optimal movement patterns and actually set yourself up for injury on the opposite side.

Begin returning to normal activity as soon as you can stand it.  Be smart about it, though.  Work yourself gradually back to your old, pre-injury loads.  It need not take forever but start with bodyweight and increase the poundage as your body will allow.

Begin implementing unilateral movements that focus on strengthening stabilizer muscles, especially those around the injured area.  This way you help insure optimal joint movement and stability.  This can help decrease the chance of future injuries to that same area.

Remember, when do get hurt apply RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) for at least the first 48 hours and longer if the injury is more severe.

Once the injured site can sustain bodyweight, i.e. you can use it without too much pain, get back to work.

Work smart, stabilize the injured area and strengthen your weak areas.

Who knows, that injury just may be what you needed to finally fix a weak spot that nagged you for years.

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