Recovering from Sports Injuries
Whether you have had knee surgery or back surgery or just a non-surgical sprain or tear, the recovery process takes a great deal of patience. If you push too hard to get back to 100% you aggravate the injury and prolong the recovery.
The proper rehabilitation, whether you do it on your own or with a physical therapist, takes discipline, effort and consistency. Here I will outline some of the important points to ensure you recover and get back on track.
Pain is often a very healthy sign. It lets your body know what you can do and not do. If you have pain following an injury, listen to it. Let pain be your guide during the rehabilitation process. Sometimes it is appropriate to push into the dull achy pain. Rarely is it good to push into sharp and stabbing pain. Working with a licensed professional like a physical therapist is important to help guide you through this pain process particularly if this is your first injury to this particular body part.
Time can be your friend or enemy and is directly connected to your level of patience. The injury is what it is. In other words, if you had an ACL tear with repair, it is going to take you longer to get back to 100% than it will be to recover from a non-surgical meniscus tear. Listen to your body and be patient.
Your physical therapy should include passive and active modalities. This means that at the beginning of your therapy, the therapist may be doing much of the work. Ultrasound, laser therapy, heat, ice, electric stimulation, manual hands on therapy and some light exercise may all be included during the initial passive therapy time. After a week or two, your therapist will slowly transition you to more active modalities such as weighted exercises and more rigorous forms of passive and active stretching. To know that you have a good therapist, simply look him/her in the eye. You will know if they are intent on getting you to your goals. You will also know if you are in the correct facility by the attention you are given. You should not be left unattended to perform your exercises. The time spent with your therapist is your time to get back to 100% so make sure you are giving your best and be comfortable about asking questions to your therapist.
Volumes of books have been written on this topic. Let’s keep it simple. You are what you eat. Eat well. Eat clean. Eat healthy. Focus on a food that is considered Alkaline forming. These foods are anti-inflammatory by nature and will help in your recovery from your injury. Examples of alkaline forming foods include green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens, and broccoli. Meat such as fish and chicken are considered alkaline forming compared to beef and pork. Fats such as walnuts, almonds, olive oil and flax oil are all alkaline forming and will help your body reduce inflammation. Fruits such as avocados and blueberries are alkaline forming and will also help in the recovery of the injury.
Volumes have been written on supplements as well. And everyone and their brother wants to sell you their supplements. Most of what you need nutritionally you can get from food. There are a few basics that I do recommend. I recommend a good multivitamin from a high level reputable company such as Standard Process. Or visit a Natural Food Store to find high quality and food-based supplements. Fish oil supplementation is also important. Check with your licensed professional before consuming supplements.
Positive Mental Attitude
Most of you can and will get back to 100%. Keeping that in the forefront of your consciousness will help you get there. There have been many studies published on the effects of positive thinking and outcomes and recovery from injuries. Know you will be back on top of your game before you know it and make progress every day toward that end. Take it day by day. One step at a time. You will get there!