Recovering from an injury can be an arduous process that takes time and for some, it can take longer than expected.
Why is that?
There are many factors that influence the way that you recover and the time it takes. For instance, your age, weight, general wellbeing and state of health prior to being injured will have a major influence on your recovery and how long it will take you to bounce back.
During the acute phase of injury, the following factors will contribute in either facilitating or hindering your recovery.
- Amount of sleep and Quality of sleep
- Level of inflammation
- Stress levels
All of the above will have a role to play in your recovery following the acute phase of injury in the first 24-48 hours. So it is important that you make sure you get a good sleep, this is when the body repairs itself and injury is tiring stuff because the body is working hard to repair damage, which requires energy. So it is important that you rest, minimise stress levels, maximise your nutrition and hydrate yourself. All these things will help the body to do what it does best, which is heal itself. But sometimes we are impatient and we let life get in the way, which actually can hinder your recovery.
Going to see a professional after the first 24-48 hours within the first week will also help you to identify the actual tissue causing pain, and help you to manage your injury in those initial stages, which is most important.
Most people hinder their recovery because they don’t manage the injury well in those initial phases, which is where a professional can help. The most common mistake is that people resume daily activities/ exercise too soon and forget or perhaps ignore signs that the body perhaps is not ready. It is important to listen to your body when you are injured, there is a time and place to push your body and when you are injured is not that time. So be smart about your recovery.
- Eat Well
- Sleep Well
- Minimise Stress
- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
After the pain of an acute injury starts to subside (depending on the nature of the injury) perhaps in the following 7-10 days is when you start to resume life as normal. This is where re-aggravation can occur. It is at this point (if not before) where identifying any aggravating and maintaining factors that could potentially cause the injury to linger and perhaps in some cases where people are unaware of what can contribute, injuries can become chronic.
Aggravating and maintaining factors are usually activities you do most days that can cause niggles and aggravate the original injured area causing an inflammatory response which can maintain the injury and prolong your recovery time.
Working with your health professional to identify these potential factors (as each injury will differ in potential aggravating and maintaining factors) will help you to minimise re-aggravation. Sometimes this process can take some time, it is important that you pay attention throughout the day and note when you feel pain and what activity and time of day it was at the time. This will give the practitioner clues as to what activities you may need to avoid for a period of time whilst you recover.
So what are kind of activities could these aggravating and maintaining factors be?
This will differ depending on the nature of your injury but for most people, it is usually one of the following culprits.
- Desk posture and ergonomic workstation set up
- Car seat posture and set up
- Sleeping posture (pillow/mattress/sleep position)
- Gait patterns (how you walk and what shoes you use to walk in)
- Type of physical activity you choose to do if any.
Identifying exactly what activities may aggravate your injury will be one of the most important processes in your recovery, the next step is to minimise and perhaps eliminate these factors whilst you recover, which will take a bit of time and patience. The more time and patience you allow for your injury early on will only help you in the long run.
Here are 5 simple steps to help you fast-track your recovery.
1.) Look after yourself in the first 24-48 hours.
2.) See a professional within the first week
3.) Pay attention to when you experience pain, try to identify what activities might aggravate your symptoms.
4.) Work with your practitioner to Identify, minimise and eliminate aggravating and maintaining factors where possible.
5.) Avoid resuming physical activity/exercise too soon. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!
Stay tuned for part 2 of fast-track your recovery in next months blog.