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How to recover easier when you have an injury

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For the second time this year I have a muscular injury.  Gah!  In February I had a foot injury which I think was caused by a mixture of too much running too many days consecutively and wearing quite old running trainers.  It meant I couldn’t go about my normal exercise routine for a good two weeks.  Not too bad, though annoying.  This time, however, I feel my new injury might take a little longer to heal.  I’ve done some muscular damage to the lower part of my back.  Every time I look down the muscles to the left feel like someone is ripping them or stabbing me, even as I sit typing this looking at the laptop they are spasming all over the place causing me to flinch.  Getting in and out of my car is agony as I have to bend my head to get in.  I’ve not slept well for five nights as I’m quite a wriggly sleeper and every move wakes me up in pain.  It’s been five days now and it’s no better, but research tells me this sort of injury may take a few weeks to heal.  In this blog post I’m going to share some tips to make healing and recovery after an injury easier for you.

I’m not 100% sure how I caused this injury, but we were on holiday last week in Fuerteventura and there were several steps down a cliff side to the beach which I walked up and down a couple of times daily carrying a heavy bag of all our water bottles and sun creams along with carrying a quite heavy three year old!  I did also give my husband a piggy back on the beach and spent more time sitting down than usual, so it could be a combination of the lot.  Something has put my back out and it’s pretty painful!

It’s got me thinking about people who regularly have chronic pain and also the elderly who start to get aches and pains on a regular basis.  I’m so grateful I don’t usually have any pains like this as it’s so debilitating.  I’m struggling to drive, I can’t pick things up easily, I can’t sleep and I can’t go to the gym and run or use the weight machines as I usually would.  As someone with a regular exercise routine it’s very frustrating to say the least.  I tried to swim yesterday and even that was difficult.  I can’t imagine having to live with an injury like this for the rest of my life, it would be awful and I sympathise with those who have to.

To make things easier when suffering with an injury, here are my top tips:

Stay mobile

If you’re usually up and about, it can negatively affect your mood and become frustrating if you’re suddenly unable to go about things as you normally would.  If the injury is going to be long lasting or is quite severe you may want to consider a mobility aid to get around.  Having the freedom to nip to the local shops on your own, without being in excruciating pain the whole time, will get you out of the house and lift your mood whilst bringing back your independence.  Mobility aids such as tri-walkers, wheelchairs and scooters can all be found online at the click of a button by dedicated website Pro Rider Mobility.

Remain active (to an extent)

It’s best to keep up and stay gently active to help with the recovery process, within reason.  Don’t expect to complete your usual exercise routine, but try not to stay sedentary as this can prolong the recovery process.  Obviously if you have sought professional advice or your injury is severe then bedrest may be the best course of action for you, but if like me it’s a short term muscular injury gentle mobility is best.  Don’t overdo it.  Refrain from causing strain or stress to the injury and painful areas.

Seek professional advice

If you’re worried about your injury or it’s not getting better over time as you thought it might, see professional advice.  Your GP may be able to sign post you to the correct department if they can’t help directly, or you may already have access to a physiotherapist, sports therapist or an orthopediatrician if you know the type of professional your injury requires.  They can advise the best course of recovery and hopefully put your mind to rest if you’re concerned it’s anything more serious.

Eat healthily

The body is a healing mechanism, but it needs the right fuel.  Make sure you are eating a diet rich in a variety of plant based foods and staying hydrated with water.  Your cells need the correct nutrients to function properly and to help you recover.  Gorge on as many fruits and veggies as you can.

Rest and recover

Don’t forget to rest!  It may be frustrating to be less active and able than you are used to, but don’t try to carry on as normal if your injury is too painful.  Take things easier and get plenty of rest.  Make sure you’re getting enough sleep as this is the body’s ultimate recovery time.  Listen to your body, know your limitations and rest when it’s telling you to.

Hopefully you’ll be back to your normal self in no time at all and these tips will help you along the way.