Nearly all of us have been to a physio or massage therapist because of an injury, niggle or pain in our body. The physio gives you a good rub, a crack and a stretch, then sends you away with a sheet of exercises to help mend your injury. You know that sheet of exercises? The one you find under the front seat of your car two weeks later…
It seems like we are more than happy to pay the medical specialist for a so called ‘quick fix’, but we rarely do the homework afterwards. Do we like being in pain? Are we too busy? Do we honestly believe the injury will just get better on its own?
Too many times I’ve had awkward conversations with my physio because I’m seizing up or struggling during the session. And the reason is always the same…I haven’t done the basic exercises I needed to practice in order to heal my body.
It is possible to make a change! Whether you’re suffering from chronic pain, a soft tissue injury or just an ongoing niggle, remember these things.
- Take it slow
Rehabilitating your body post-injury is about progressive mobilization and gradual exercise (gradual being the operative word). If you’ve seen your physio or chiro and had a treatment (quick fix) you might wake up feeling good the next day, but going for a run or straight back to the gym to lift weights is not the smartest idea. Gradual strengthening is key – unless you’re a professional athlete, there is no need to push yourself. Relax, and use this time to heal slowly but properly.
- Remember RICE
For soft tissue injuries like sprains and strains you can’t go past the good old ‘RICE’ rule. Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. Never apply heat to the injured area during the first 24 hours after you’ve injuring yourself.
- Get help
It is crucial to get a specialist to help you recover and keep you accountable. And I don’t mean just googling the closest masseuse to your house. Do your research. Get recommendations and referrals. Often the best people don’t have an available appointment in your lunch break. The good ones are normally worth the wait. Would you go to a different hairdresser or doctor just for convenience? Choose wisely. It is your health after all!
- Try something targeted
Try Pilates! Clinical Pilates is a wonderful form of exercise because it specifically targets your injury. Your instructor (who you found through a recommendation or thorough research!) can run through all your exercises with you and keep your rehab fresh and varied. They’ll also ensure your abs and core strength are in check (hello added bonus!).
- Enlist a friend
Nominate a rehab buddy to keep you accountable during your recovery from injury. Enlisting a friend, family member or partner is a surefire way to keep you on top of your exercise schedule and make sure you’re attending your scheduled appointments. Swap your weekly coffee catch up and get your friend to do your exercises with you for added motivation.
Image: Restore Body