Tips for Recovering from Sports Injuries
As an athlete the longer you are incapacitated, the harder it is for you to get back on form and compete. Yet, it is essential that you don’t push your body too far too soon or you could risk further injury.
So what can you do?
If you are looking to reduce your down time, then there are a number of techniques you can do to decrease joint pain and get yourself literally back on the track.
Coping with Sports Injuries
Physical rehab is only part of the recovery process. To help reduce your down time, it is essential that you also use psychological skills, as your reaction to an injury could prevent you from recovering faster.
Denial, anger, sadness, depression… all of these emotions can set you back if you let them as they will prevent you from focusing on your recovery and getting better.
For this reason, you need to find out and accept the following. Only by doing so can you recover quicker:
- What is your diagnosis?
- How long will it take you to recover?
- What is the purpose of the treatments they are offering you?
- What can you expect from rehab? What will you be expected to do?
- Are there any alternative workouts you can safely do?
- How can you spot if you are getting worse?
Many athletes make the mistake of playing through the pain and ignoring the advice of physiotherapists, but this could be a huge mistake.
Without properly addressing your injury and giving it time to heal, you could potentially cause yourself permanent, more damaging injuries which could prevent you from competing for good.
That is why we recommend doing the following:
• Accept responsibility for your injury – you need to accept that you have an injury and that only with positive thinking can you take control of your recovery process. Do not dwell on the past and who caused it. Focus on your recovery.
• Stay positive – you need to be committed to recovering from your injury, and this means going to physiotherapy, working hard and listening to the advice of health and athletic professionals. Avoid any negative or self-defeating thoughts and remind yourself that you can recover and that you can succeed.
• Get support – do not isolate yourself from your friends, family or team mates. Instead let them be a shoulder to your recovery and let their encouragement spur you on.
• Set realistic goals – be realistic with your recovery time and don’t expect too much too soon. Instead, set training challenges that focus more on recovery than your performance.
• Maintain your fitness – depending on the type of injury you have, you can modify your training routine and keep your fitness levels up. Aim to include cardiovascular and strength training as they can help you to experience natural pain relief as well as strengthen your injured ligaments/muscles.
For example, if you cannot run – swim or cycle.
• Compression sportswear – even without injury, compression sportswear helps to reduce the risk of muscle injury and can assist with your recovery.
• Follow the right form of treatment – most sports injuries are treated using the following formulation: PRICE –Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Stabilise.
When you injure yourself, initial inflammation will normally last 5 days. During this time it is important that you address signs of inflammation, joint/ligament pain, swelling and loss of mobility as they will influence your long term recovery.
Some sports injuries are simply unavoidable especially in contact sports; however there are a number of steps you can take to prevent a sports injury from happening or from happening again. Try to incorporate the following into your routine:
• Properly warm up – stretch and get your heart pumping before you begin training
• Take time off – your body needs at least 1 day off a week to recover
• Wear the right clothing – pads, helmets, mouthpieces etc should all be made to fit, ensuring for thorough protection
• Strength training – conditioning exercises can help to strengthen your muscles and improve flexibility
• Assess your pain – if you feel any amount of joint pain, stop and drink plenty of fluids (this can prevent heat injury)
It is possible to be the athlete you’ve always wanted to be. Just be careful to use the right kind of joint pain relief for your injury and ensure that you do not try to do too much too soon. With the right steps you can take control of your recovery time.
This post was written by Crispin Jones on behalf of Provailen, an option for natural pain relief and joint pain relief.