Why do we get injured?
Injuries come in many forms, they can be acute or chronic, can occur during a sports activity or simply when bending to put on a pair of shoes.
Generally an injury will happen when a tissue or joint is put under a load it is not prepared for. This can be a sudden force such as lifting something too heavy or a prolonged load such as increasing your running distance too quickly and not giving your muscles and joints enough time to adapt. Either way injuries are frustrating, painful and can stop you from doing the things you enjoy so here are a few tips to get you back to doing the things you love sooner.
Get support and a rehabilitation plan.
Understanding what the injury is and how it occurred in the first place is the first step to getting back in action. If your injury has come on gradually the site of pain may not be the source of the problem. An Osteopath, Sports Therapist, or Physiotherapist can help you manage your pain and symptoms and put a plan together to help you recover.
Focus on what you can do, not what you cant.
It can be frustrating when you have an injury that stops you from doing the activities you enjoy, be it walking the dog or playing high level sports but it’s important to keep positive and active doing the activities that you can manage.
Rehabilitation exercises will be part of your recovery and these should be done with consistency and commitment. The only way to recover from an injury is to get the tissues stronger so that they are better prepared to withstand the loads put upon them in the future. There is no quick fix for this, it takes time and effort and a good progressive plan.
During this time it’s important to keep moving. If running or walking causes pain then try something different such as cycling, swimming or Pilates. Increasing blood flow around your body will help you to recover faster and will maintain your cardiovascular fitness, meaning you won’t fatigue too quickly when you return to your favourite activity thus reducing the risk of re-injury.
Think about the other areas of health that will affect your recovery
Sleep, rest, nutrition and hydration all play an important role when you are recovering from an injury. making sure you are supporting your healing tissues with good nutrition and enough protein is a key part in your rehabilitation.
Sleep is something else we often neglect when we are recovering from an injury. Our body does most of its repairs while we sleep so it is important that we get enough quality sleep to allow this.
Rest is also something else we forget to prioritise but can be so important when we are injured. When we are stressed our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol which is part of our “fight or flight” response. This reaction slows down non essential bodily functions such as digestion and tissue repair and also increases the amount of glucose in your blood stream which can increase circulatory inflammation further hindering the healing process. Hydration is also a key element in both the prevention and treatment of injuries, dehydrated tissues are less pliable and at greater risk of strains and tears.
Set small goals and keep a note of your recovery
It’s often difficult to see improvements as they occur slowly and progressively. We’d all like to wake up one day and have all our symptoms disappear but sadly this is very uncommon and not how tissue repair works. To stop yourself from losing motivation or becoming disheartened by a lack of progression, set small goals along the way to recovery. This can be setting a distance you would like to get back to running our walking by the end of the week or month or increasing the weight or repetitions you can perform in your rehab exercises by a certain time. These goals will help you notice the improvements you are making along the way.
keeping a note of your symptoms every now and then can also be a helpful way to see if you are experiencing less severe or less frequent pain than you were at the beginning of the injury.
If you are struggling with an injury or would like any help with your recovery please do not hesitate to speak to one of our team of Osteopaths, Sports and Remedial Massage Therapists and rehabilitative Pilates and exercise specialists.