Editor’s note: The past two weeks Adam Rees, founder of GRIT GYM, offered his advice on how to prevent injuries. Today begins a two-part series on how to recover when an injury occurs.
Injury isn’t really something we like to consider, and the best policy is preventive.
However, in a sport like football things are bound to happen and we might as well be prepared. Expect the best, prepare for the worst.
Here we’re going to dive into the initial response to an immediately debilitating injury so we can get off the DL and back into action ASAP. Getting back quick usually means less long term affects, as well.
Injury goes through three big phases.
The first 72 hours belong to inflammation, which is a good thing. The second is proliferation, the equivalent of a scab. “Scabs” happen inside the body just like outside, so when you have a huge bruise, stop playing with it. Your body literally is bleeding like crazy on the inside. Then there is the remodeling stage. This would be like the skin under the scab, which can be a scar. Scars are not always bad. In fact, it’s common for scar tissue to be what’s holding things in place.
So what do we do?
1. Let the initial inflammation take it’s course. This brings blood to the area that needs healing. This is the body’s natural healing process and it’s been evolving for a few million years. You will not do better than it can on its own. Let that blood flow bring good stuff to that area. With excessive swelling, throw some ice on. The difficulty will be judging what is considered “excessive.”
2. NSAIDS such as Ibuprofen. If you have to have something for the pain (pain begins and ends in your brain, a programmed response to stop you from further breaking down your tissues) take an acetaminophen. It is a better option. NSAIDS like Ibuprofen have been shown to make for poor tissue repair.
3. Get younger. Simply put, the body accepts change and heals better when it’s younger so if you do get injured be glad you are the age you are and not older. From all the injuries I’ve seen, a bad attitude stays injured and a relentless attitude to heal gets better rapidly.
4. Nutrition. You must eat more in order to recover. An injured body needs more calories and more protein to make new tissue. Hydration is important, and things like garlic, turmeric, pineapple, cocoa, tea, blueberries and protein help.
5. Supplementation. There is a long list here and these should only be used for two to four weeks tops. Further usage can be detrimental. Don’t try to play doctor. However the affects of a few “grass clippings” can help us immensely.
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