Introduction (why you think it’s important)
Over the past year, our exercise and lifestyle routines have changed dramatically. If there has been anything to take from COVID, it is that your health and fitness should always be treated as a priority as without it, we are unable to do all of the things we love!
Regardless of how you chose to exercise, be it child’s play or a half marathon, it is fundamental for your mental wellbeing. Just an hours exercise a week has been proven to reduce negative thought occurrence as well as the prevalence of depression within adults (Callow et al., 2020).
Participating in physical activity, does leave you somewhat exposed to picking up a niggle or injury, particularly if you haven’t done any exercise in a while! When you pick up an injury, no matter how small or drastic it may be – it is incredibly easy to fall into a negative mindset (trust me, I’ve been there!!)
Here at Injury Active, we believe that the best way for you to recover is to continue doing exactly what is you love the most. For the gym-goer who pulled a muscle in their thigh to the runner who has noticed a twinge in their foot, your best method of recovery is to continue doing exactly that, but lowering either the frequency, duration or intensity. Taking up this approach prevents any detraining and loss of gains that you have worked so hard to build up!
Without seeking proper help and guidance for an injury, you may well experience pain for longer than necessary and the thought of ‘will this injury ever go away’ will become more common. We always aim to get you out of the pain cycle as soon as possible and get you back active!
If you pick up an injury, then here is what we believe to be the 7 best ways that you can stay positive throughout the rehabilitation process.
Seek help & advice
Why should you seek advice and treatment, that’s specifically tailored to you, to optimise your results? Because it is the first step to positively coping and dealing with your injury (Hsu et al., 2019). By talking to one of our Sports Therapists, you can expect to establish an understanding of your injury, begin to build a timeline for your recovery and set regular achievable goals to get you back to full fitness. By engaging with therapy, it shines a light on areas that may have perceived as areas of darkness or negativity relating to your injury, allowing you to feel positively towards your injury and to enjoy the rehabilitation process from beginning to end.
Perform your rehab.
Completing your rehabilitation that has been prescribed to you by your therapist is how you are going to get better. This will allow you to regularly hit your targets and gain access to the feel-good factor that you get by progressing week in, week out (Ivarsson et al., 2017). Sometimes finding the motivation to do your rehab can be really tricky and if you do then please give our blog on ‘How to find motivation’ a read. II always advise focusing on achieving your individual milestones and making the most out of the small wins along the way.
Celebrate small wins
Celebrate the small wins when you achieve them. Every milestone you hit is a win, it means that you’re one step closer to returning back to full fitness! It is proof that all the hard work you’re putting into your recovery is paying off and that the next small win is not far away. Keep your head up and keep moving, you’re doing all the right things.
Find alternative ways to exercise & train
At Injury Active, we strongly believe that motion is lotion. Just because you have picked up an injury does not mean that you have to stop training, in fact it’s the opposite! This is an exciting time where we can find alternative ways to train and keep you moving pain free to prevent any detraining or loss of gains. Our experienced therapists have a wide array of knowledge to enable us to adapt your training and keep you moving towards your goals so that injury does not hold you back!
Keeping track and monitoring your progress throughout your rehab is a fantastic way to hold on to your positive attitude while getting started and ongoing throughout the journey. From my experience, a really good thing to do and was instrumental for myself when I was going through rehab for a shoulder injury. I used to treat certain exercises as a game and try to beat myself each week, whether I use time or repetitions as the marker! I found that it really helped me keep engaged with my training and my patients have reported the same!
Pain points (why people should care)
Now, movement is something that doesn’t have to diminish either with age or injury. Movement isn’t something we want to lose at any point in life so being proactive and maintaining optimal range of motion at all of our joints is something we should all strive achieve. In the majority of cases we see, our clients end up leaving us moving better and more freely than they did pre-injury! Improved mobility and control of your joints will result in you being less likely to become injured, which is what you’re after! (Bartlett and Bussey, 2013)
Paint point + Solution
As soon as you pick up that injury, your body will react to it and begin the healing process. Now, from there, Sports Therapists/rehabilitators are uniquely skilled to ensure that the process goes as well as it can. Making sure that muscles, ligaments and tendons heal correctly, to give you the best result possible at the end of the journey. Leaving injuries untreated can be detrimental to long term joint health, it leaves you more likely to be exposed to a secondary injury resulting in more time away from doing what you love and more than likely resulting in you feeling more negative towards injury in the future. I would always recommend seeking advice as soon as its convenient for you to do so, leaving it a week or two will only set you back and it wont help stopping negative thoughts!
All of what I have spoken about here is the best ways to stay positive throughout an injury, but all of them start from seeking help from a therapist and being proactive initially rather than reactive when the little niggle becomes a bigger issue. Book in with one of our friendly experienced therapists at Injury Active and start your road to recovery, the right way.
Bartlett, R. and Bussey, M., 2013. Sports biomechanics: reducing injury risk and improving sports performance. Routledge.
Callow, D., Arnold-Nedimala, N., Jordan, L., Pena, G., Won, J., Woodard, J. and Smith, J., 2020. The Mental Health Benefits of Physical Activity in Older Adults Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 28(10), pp.1046-1057.
Hsu, J.R., Mir, H., Wally, M.K. and Seymour, R.B., 2019. Clinical practice guidelines for pain management in acute musculoskeletal injury. Journal of orthopaedic trauma, 33(5), p.e158.
Ivarsson, A., Tranaeus, U., Johnson, U. and Stenling, A., 2017. Negative psychological responses of injury and rehabilitation adherence effects on return to play in competitive athletes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Open access journal of sports medicine, 8, p.27.