When playing contact or high-intensity sports such as football, rugby, or tennis it is not uncommon for people to get injuries that may take some time to recover from. The type of injuries that people get depends on the exercise or sports they play; however, the sports injuries usually suffered are:
- Muscle injuries such as calf, hamstring and groin strains, ruptured Achilles and muscle tears
- Joint injuries, including dislocations, fractures, sprains, and strains
- Bone injuries such as leg and ankle fractures
The time it takes a sportsperson to recover from an injury depends on a few factors, including age, the severity of the injury, and their general health and fitness before the sports injury.
Everyone will follow a path to recovery that is individual to their own experience, however, there are some things you can do, which you can read about below, to make your recovery faster and most importantly, effective, so you can get back to enjoying your favorite sports.
1. Get Chiropractic Care
One option for individuals with sports injuries looking for a good recovery is to seek the help of a chiropractor. Going to see a professional chiropractor like those at Redding Chiropractic Place is a quick way to assess an injury and use treatment to provide pain relief. Chiropractic care focuses on treating injuries to bones, cartilage, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons by ensuring the body’s musculoskeletal structure is properly aligned.
Although chiropractic treatment can be used for a variety of sports injuries it is especially effective for relieving the symptoms of back and neck injuries by helping to realign the spine into its proper position.
2. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation Method
A common technique to treat sports injuries directly after they happen or when an old injury gets irritated is the rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) method which is simple for anyone to do and is tried and tested to help with inflammation and pain relief.
Step 1 is to rest, so the injured person should immediately stop what they are doing to take pressure off the injury.
Step 2 is to reduce the swelling by placing ice on the injury, which should be held in place for between 10 and 20 minutes. To reduce the swelling faster and speed up the healing process it is suggested to apply ice multiple times a day until the swelling goes down.
Step 3 is compression of the injury by wrapping the injured area with an elastic bandage which also helps to reduce swelling, to avoid extra pain and swelling the bandage should not be too tight.
Step 4 is to elevate and rest your injury so it is raised above the heart; often, people use pillows to rest the injury on.
As soon as the swelling has gone down significantly, you can apply heat presses to the injured area to soothe the pain.
3. Sports Injury Physiotherapy
The field of sports injury physiotherapy has come a long way over
the past fifty years and is now increasingly professional and specialized. The job of a sports physiotherapist is to facilitate recovery from an injury through the implementation of a holistic recovery program.
Sports injury physiotherapists help patients return to sports faster whilst still gaining enough muscle strength or scar tissue formation and reducing the risk of further injuries.
One of the benefits of sports injury physio is also quicker pain relief using massages, exercises and electrotherapy to deal with joint or muscle inflammation and pain.
After the pain and swelling have subsided it is a good idea to start stretching and doing small exercises to assist the healing process and strengthen the muscles.
4. Motion Exercises
The process of sports injury rehabilitation involves motion exercises that help to improve the range of movement, muscle strength and mobility. There are a variety of exercises you can do when healing from an injury including stretching, using resistance bands, doing bodyweight exercise and pilates.
The type of motion exercises an injured person should do all depends on the injury sustained and what advice is given by the doctor and physiotherapist.
5. Maintain Your Mental Health
Maintaining a positive outlook and dealing with mental health issues is just as important to recovery as physical healing. At the beginning of your rehabilitation, it is a good move to make a list of clear goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (SMART goals); for example an injured runner may set a recovery goal as ‘Run 2 kilometers at the pre-injury pace three months after the injury happened’.
One way injured athletes keep a positive outlook is to visualize their future selves as playing sport again whilst healthy and uninjured. Visualization exercises will help to build and maintain a sense of optimism leading to less stress which affects the speed of the healing process.
Both of the techniques above aimed at maintaining good mental health can also be well complemented by the support from your family, friends and sports injury psychologists. However, some injuries can be horrific or recurring with a long road to recovery from injury so it is worth focusing on both your mental and physical recovery plans. When planning your mental recovery, you should try to honestly talk about your injuries, such as pain levels, discomfort, and the impact it is having on your life.
6. Slowly Get Back Into Exercise and Sports
When suffering from a sports injury, one of the worst things to do is rushing back into fast-paced and strenuous exercise too soon, and this has the potential to undo all the previous recovery. An exercise routine should focus on a step-by-step holistic approach to gradually build up muscle and joint movement and strength.
To avoid getting any injury relapses during recovery due to straining your body too much too soon, you should consider creating a workout schedule that slightly increases the repetitions, duration or distance of each exercise each day or week.
Getting injured playing sports can be a painful and traumatic experience that could take months to recover from. However, if you follow the advice in the article above, then your recovery should be easier, faster, and more comfortable.