Nothing is worse than an injury, whether it is out playing your favourite sport or in the gym doing a workout. When it comes to something serious or a recurring injury, staying motivated becomes a great challenge. Injury recovery times will vary depending on the type of injury, but you can help with your choices.
When will I be able to train again? Will I be able to play with the same intensity? It is normal for these questions to occupy your mind during the rehabilitation period. It is also important to be aware of the high risk posed by a relapse if we do not comply with the medical advice.
Even if you have a serious injury which will keep you on the sidelines for months, there are things that be done for sports injury recovery. Whether the actions you take are small or large, all of these things contribute to the area to make it as strong as possible upon return. You should also continue to strengthen your weakness areas after an injury to prevent any from repeating, such as wrist injuries.
Tips to speed up injury recovery
When you first get the injury, quick action in the initial stage will help control inflammation and reduce the loss of muscle tone. It is also important to adopt a positive attitude towards a process that can be drawn out to avoid any frustration.
Going to a specialist such as a physiotherapist early on is the best thing that can be done in this situation. While it may cost money for the appointment, the peace of mind and the speed of treatment as a result of this are extremely beneficial. You can waste too much time if you try to self diagnose, holding up your recovery process even further.
If it is required and recommended by someone like a physio, you should also get scans done. This will either be an X-Ray or MRI scan depending on the type of injury it is believed to be. By doing this as soon as possible, you avoid the delay of guess work and instead you will know the exact problem immediately. This is especially important for things like muscle injury recovery, since there is a chance of surgery being required for the process.
In addition to following step by step the personalized rehabilitation plan that the doctor, physiotherapist or physical trainer has designed for you, the following recommendations can be incorporated to assist the routine:
R.I.C.E, your best ally in injury recovery
RICE is an acronym that you have heard a thousand times from different people. While it may be annoying to see this as one of the top suggestions, the significance of the impact it can make in injury recovery should not be underestimated.
Doing this immediately after an injury can help reduce swelling and kick start the healing process sooner. In case you don’t know the what it means, here are the 4 key parts of this process.
Ensure that you do not apply weight to the affected area. It is important to keep off the injury to prevent further damage and aggravation. If it is something like a groin injury, then try to avoid movements that will cause pain. You may need to use something like crutches to achieve this
Within the first 2 to 3 days make sure that you ice the injury. This is important to stop major swelling in the area. Make sure it doesn’t directly touch you skin, and try to ice for periods of up to 20 minutes for 4-8 times a day.
Using compression bands also help in dealing with swelling, which can slow down the start of the recovery process. It is recommended to keep compression for up to a week depending on the injury. Ensure that it is not tight enough that you cut off any blood flow to the muscles.
This not only reduces swelling in the area but also bruising which all impacts recovery times. Try to use a pillow while lying down, or a chair and desk while you are sitting. Just make that the injury is in an upright position to reduce the amount of blood flow to the area.
This is a treatment method focused mainly on soft tissue injuries like strains, but parts of this are used in the treatment of other injuries. This process should normally be done in the first 24 to 48 hours of the injury to have the best results. If you are not able to see a physio until the next day, then this is the best thing you can do to help the recovery time.
Incorporate new foods and supplements into the diet
Eating habits have a direct effect on our health and well-being. In this case, to promote rapid recovery it will be necessary to add certain foods to our diet such as foods rich in Omega 3.
Omega 3 fatty acids are present in some nuts such as walnuts and also oily fish. It is very important for muscle injury recovery as research has shown it reduces muscle loss from inactivity. If you can’t acquire it in foods, then try to look for supplements that you can take that will provide the same effect.
For many injuries that require a long period of limited use, the loss of muscle mass is something that can impact your return to action. This is because you will need to dedicate time once the injury is healed to build this muscle back to avoid re-injury. While this will happen regardless, the less you have to gain back, the quicker your return will be.
Outside of this, eating healthy is something that will also help your body in general as you heal. Making sure you get a good amount of protein and vitamins will help the process, as well as drinking plenty of water. Remember that every little bit counts in the journey back to full fitness.
Get enough sleep and rest
Doctors have surely told you on more than one occasion that a good rest will help you in the recovery phase. Going to bed at the same time or doing some relaxing activities like reading a book before bed will improve our quality of sleep. As long as we sleep and rest properly, our damaged muscles and tissues will regenerate more easily.
While you mind isn’t active, your body has a chance to really focus on repairing your body from the day before. Not only can a lack of sleep limit the effectiveness of this repair time, it may make you more likely to make mistakes that will set back to process again.
While the time generally varies between age groups, it is normally good to aim for around 7 hours of sleep. This will keep you well rested and energised for the next day, while getting the maximum repair time benefits. General rest throughout the day also aids relaxation in the muscles that are injured, or even muscles around that support the injured area.
Get started in your injury recovery process
Now you know the tips and habits that you can incorporate into your day to day. Now is the time to put them into practice! As you may have seen, they are simple to carry out and, in addition, they can bring you great benefits.
Small changes in your routine can go a long way. Remember: the sooner you recover, the sooner you can start playing sports and working out.