Whether you’re an athlete or a weekend warrior, an injury can set you back when it comes to your exercise goals. How you handle an injury can make a big impact on the recovery process. If you want to speed up your recovery and minimise the risk of injury in the future, this is the guide for you.
What to do immediately after an injury
So you’re reading this right as you’ve hurt yourself. Props to you for Googling the answer!
But on a serious note, it’s good to have the injury assessed by a GP if you suspect a fracture, dislocation or muscle tear. That way, you know right away whether you will need any significant treatment such as surgery or a cast.
In the meantime, start with elevating the injured body part. This helps to reduce fluid retention in the area. It also means you’re not on it, so you’re less likely to keep injuring it!
Rest and elevation are also a good idea for minor injuries such as sprains and twisted ankles. If you have a pre-made support or brace for the injured part, you can pop it on for some stability and compression. If not, you might like to bandage it if compression feels supportive for you.
There is a bit of debate out there about whether heat or ice is best for an injury. Ice is the old-school treatment, and may be useful for reducing pain sensitivity and fluid retention. On the other hand, if there is pain without any swelling, a heat pack or warm bath might help increase blood flow to the area and reduce pain.
Once the swelling has gone down
This is the time when it’s good to see your friendly local myotherapist. We can’t really help if you’ve just done a significant injury such as a break or a muscle tear. But after the first few days, we can put together a treatment plan to get you back to your everyday life ASAP.
Some of the therapies we can offer to help you recover include:
How to support recovery and reduce risk of re-injury
Are you ready to jump back into it after an injury? Here are some tips to maximise recovery and minimise your risk of getting hurt again.
Start slow – I know you want to jump straight back in, but this is a recipe for disaster! When you’ve been injured, your body part often needs time to strengthen and get back to your pre-injury levels. Begin with low impact versions of movement such as yoga and walking, and build up over a period of 4-12 weeks depending on your injury.
Use rest and compression after exercise – if you do find your injured area aching or swelling after exercise, head home to rest and a support or brace. This can minimise the fluid retention and ease any pain you might experience.
If you experience sharp or shooting pain, stop – some aches are common as you get back into movement. But sharp, shooting or severe pain is a sign that something is not ok. Stop whatever you’re doing until your pain has been checked out by a qualified practitioner.
Eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods – even if your rehab program is perfect, your body can’t recover without the good nutrients you need for healing. Eating plenty of fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and high-quality is protein is a good start, according to our nutritionist friend Samantha Gemmell.
Work with a myotherapist – a myotherapist can help you with rehab exercises to rebuild strength. But they can also keep you on track with supportive taping and addressing any muscle imbalances.
Are you dealing with an injury? Our myotherapist Emily works with people with sports injuries, particularly muscle tears, joint injuries and rehab. Her goal is to get you back to training, events and everyday life as soon as possible while minimising your risk of re-injury.
To book an appointment with Emily, head to our booking page and select ‘Emily Wells’ as your practitioner.
Looking for an excuse to get a massage? We hear you! Massage can have a variety of benefits, especially when you are treated by a qualified remedial massage therapist. Here are our top 10 reasons you might want to get a massage this week.
You’re stressed out
Let’s face it – most of us live pretty hectic lives. Between family, work, social life, hobbies and more, there isn’t much time for stress-relieving activities.
Putting aside an hour for massage isn’t just about feeling good. Research has found that massage therapy can reduce the level of your stress hormone cortisol, as well as boosting up your feel-good brain chemicals. So it relieves stress physically as well as mentally.
You’ve been hitting the gym lately
Whether you’re doing a 12 week challenge at your gym or getting outside for a bootcamp, increasing your exercise can mean a lot of aches and pains.
Massage is a great option for after a workout to aid with recovery. But you can also book yourself in regularly to address any tightness or discomfort in the muscles that can limit your gym efforts.
You want to be more flexible
Our bodies are designed to be flexible. But our modern world has had a big impact on how flexible the average person is. Between office jobs, Netflix and cars, we spend a lot of time sitting on our muscles instead of stretching them out.
When a massage relieves tension in a ‘tight’ area, it can help your muscles, ligaments and tendons to be more flexible.
You have a new fitness goal or event in mind
Set a goal to run a marathon in 12 weeks? Signed up for Tough Mudder or a Spartan race? Want to be the next Ninja Warrior? Maybe you just want to get back to doing a proper push-up.
Whatever your fitness goal or event, a massage will relieve tension. A remedial massage therapist can also let you know if you have any significant areas of tension or muscle imbalances that may increase your risk of injury.
You’re sore or aching
There are many reasons for feeling sore. But one of the simplest solutions is to get a massage. Massage can soothe away the aches and pains.
If your pain is more chronic, massage can still help to relieve symptoms. In fact, research suggests that multiple massages may be more beneficial for relieving symptoms of pain for issues such as chronic neck pain. Sounds like a good reason to book in a few appointments!
You’ve got a headache
A nasty headache can really screw up your plans and leave you grumpy. So why not get a treatment that can relieve those symptoms?
Research has shown that massage can reduce the duration of a headache, as well as reducing frequency for those who experience chronic tension headaches.
Think it’s more of a migraine? Massage can still help. One study found massage can reduce migraine pain by up to 68%. Just make sure you’re safe to drive, or ask a friend to drive you to your appointment.
You haven’t been sleeping well
If you’re not sleeping soundly, your body and mind can suffer some nasty consequences. Poor sleep can have many factors involved – caffeine, food choices, technology use, lack of sun exposure, stress, family, work, the list goes on.
The good news is that massage can help address many of these factors as well as priming your body for sleep. There is plenty of research showing that massage can help with sleep. It can even help with sleep concerns for specific groups such as people with chronic pain or pain conditions, heart failure or post-menopausal insomnia.
Your mental health has been a little low lately
Whether you’re feeling blue or are getting anxious over little things, mental health is something to take seriously. When you’re not feeling ok, it can be hard to take steps to help yourself feel better. But one simple and enjoyable step is a massage!
A review of 37 massage therapy studies found that the greatest impact of massage is its ability to reduce anxious and depressive symptoms. In fact, they suggested that a course of several massage treatments showed similar benefits to psychotherapy!
It’s been a while since you’ve taken care of you
Most of us are great at taking care of others. But we’re not so good at taking care of ourselves – physically, mentally or emotionally.
Massage is a one-stop shop treatment for all of these aspects of self-care. Your body feels good, your stress levels drop and you are looking after your mental wellbeing.
Because you can
We think this is the best reason of all! If you’re looking for an excuse to get a massage, that in itself is a good enough reason for a massage.
To book a massage with our remedial massage therapist Helvi, head to our booking page and select ‘Helvi Topia’ as your practitioner.
Mel is a Myotherapist based in Ferntree Gully.