The human body is a magnificent structure. It’s comprised of intricate and critical systems, and each component comes together to create a systematic and symmetrical organism unlike anything else on the planet. A vast web of cells, tissues, organs, bones, muscles, and more compose the most complex machine on earth. The multiplex nature of the body makes human beings incredibly vulnerable to harm, injury, and pain. Accidents can happen anywhere at any time—and yikes, do they hurt.
Pain is an inevitability of life—a universal human condition that individuals face every once and again. Unfortunately, certain wounds take more time to heal than others do. An injury can oftentimes feel like the end of the world, akin to your life crashing down without a quick fix in sight. Besides the physical facet of injury, you’re also missing out as you sit on the sidelines, emotionally withdrawn from doing the things that traditionally give you satisfaction and fill you with joy.
That being said, recognizing that hardship, frustration, and grief are normal is the first step toward healing. So is taking the necessary actions to get back up, regain your strength, and return to an active lifestyle. This feat doesn’t happen overnight. Nonetheless, the end results are far worth the extra effort and patience. To help you along, we’ve compiled a general guide on how to safely re-strengthen your body after an injury. Here are some pivotal points to keep in mind.
Take Time Off: Wisely Rest, Sleep, and Repeat
Sprains, strains, and pulled muscles need rehabilitation time. Trying to press on despite a recent injury doesn’t fare well in your favor. You could seriously worsen the initial injury, prolong a full and faster recovery, or somehow harm yourself even more. If a medical professional or physician recommends for you to take it easy, play the situation safe. Take it easy for a while. Depending on the type of injury you’re dealing with, protection, compression, and elevation are key treatment priorities before even thinking about the next steps in the process.
Take a break to reduce the load on the injury. Rest for longer periods of time, more often. Injuries, minor or serious, are no joke. Your body’s response is nothing to downplay or disregard. The injury is a loudly blaring alarm, telling you that something’s not quite right and that you’ll need to do what’s best to fix what is wrong. Remember, you cannot build strength on an injury that hasn’t had proper healing time.
Stay Active: Don’t Do Absolutely Nothing
So you’re injured and have found yourself in one of your worst nightmares. Prime time to keep sighing in defeat, kicking back, doing nothing, and letting life run its natural course, correct? Despite what’s outlined above, not doing anything to aid recovery is the wrong logic to keep in your head. Doing nothing about your current situation isn’t the wisest idea, either. The happy medium to focus your attention on is known as active recovery.
Exercise: Light Training for Rebuilding Endurance
As soon as you can, do whatever you can to avoid not doing anything at all—within safety guidelines, that is. How can you safely re-strengthen your body after an injury? The key is to exercise appropriately with caution. After being cleared by a physician or medical professional, incorporating varying exercises and stretches into your routine again is good practice. Ease back into an active lifestyle slowly but surely. Preliminary gentler movements are an integral part of the healing and re-strengthening process.
Keeping the affected area of muscle or tendon moving—without supplementary load—can help you avoid a loss of mass and strength. You need to signal directly to your body that you’re still in the game for the long haul and get some blood pumping again. If you’re working with a physical therapist, trainer, or coach, be honest and upfront about the painful extent of the injury. Safe motivation and external support are advantageous to get you back to your previous activity level.
Eat Well: Consume for Strength and Recovery
When injury strikes, working through the re-strengthening process requires the right fuel. Optimal nutrition is pivotal to providing the fundamental nutrients you need to recover quickly. With a mindful approach, you can hopefully reach your goal sooner than projected and minimize the timeline.
Unfortunately, under-fueling is very common during the healing process. Do not unintentionally negate your physical efforts throughout recovery. Concentrate on a well-balanced diet that incorporates antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods. Controlling inflammation within the body is crucial to enhance your range of motion and repair your body to a more normal state. Fruits and veggies containing vitamin C—including oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach—are good places to begin. Don’t forget about omega-3 fatty acids.
Protein-based foods are also core fuels that help avoid the risk of losing muscle mass during recovery time. An appropriate protein intake is important regardless of the intensity of your activity levels. Likewise, chicken and fish are apex options. Nuts, seeds, beans, and tofu are ideal alternatives for non-meat or vegetarian eaters. Be sure to stay hydrated with fluids throughout the day.
Properly Address the Cause of Pain: Core Techniques
In your personalized re-strengthening plan, you must consider the best methods to address the pain and soreness that stems from the injury. Be cognizant of not directly focusing on the pain per se. Rather, pay closer attention to effectively alleviating its source. You can use a wide array of pain-relieving tactics to help you safely build strength again. However, two are most known to provide the relief you seek.
Ice and Heat
Applying ice or heat to an acute injury is a classic tactic to ease swelling, pain, and muscle tension. Based on your doctor’s recommendations, this dynamic duo can become your new best friend. Trust the process, but don’t feel bad relying on ice and heat to better bear it.
The body is known to heal itself with time, but sometimes, a therapist’s touch is best to move it along. Massage tools that focus on myofascial release have become popular for their therapeutic magic. You can even use these types of tools effectively on yourself.
If you’re tired of stubborn pain knocking at your door, we have a solution. Mobilization Magic is a manual massage tool designed with you specifically in mind. Created by a professional physical therapist, the MMT™ is unlike other soft-tissue mobilization tools on the market. Learn more on our site today about its ability to improve strength and mobility and protect against recurring injuries.