Sports injuries are often unavoidable. They can result from poor training methods, accidents, inadequate warm-up, or even inappropriate sports attire. Whatever the cause, dealing with a sports injury may not be easy. You may assume that an injury is mild because you don’t want to miss a training session or a match for the sport you love and adore.
However, such negligence may land you in a worse situation. Therefore, after sustaining an injury, you’d want to follow helpful guidelines that can enable you to effectively and quickly heal and keep moving again. Here are seven steps to successfully recover from a sports injury:
1. Hire A Sports Injury Chiropractor
A sports injury chiropractor specializes in diagnosing and treating sports-related injuries. They’re professionals in injury prevention and restoration. They’re also experts in developing treatment plans that enable you to recover and return to your sports routine faster. One advantage of hiring a chiropractor is that they tailor treatments to your unique needs. Other benefits include:
- Faster recovery: Chiropractors have the necessary equipment you require for your recovery. For example, they have massage instruments that can make your tissues more movable and relaxed and foster blood flow. Additionally, they have a cold laser that can help with areas with incredibly high inflation. Such instruments can help you heal faster.
- Optimal wellness: A chiropractor can help guide you with the proper diet, appropriate training guidelines, and sleeping guidance that can help improve your overall health.
- Injury repair: A chiropractic physician is well-versed in the anatomical and physiological response to movement models and ideal treatment options. They can therefore attend to your injuries and help repair them.
- More time and attention: Generally, chiropractic treatment involves various evaluations that ensure there aren’t any underlying problems that may lead to an injury or may cause future issues. Your chiropractor will spend more time with you as they continue to assess your progress.
2. Apply The R.I.C.E. Method
The RICE method is one of the most effective remedies you can apply immediately after you suffer from an achy ankle, knee sprain, or twisted wrist after playing sports. It’s an easy self-care technique that relieves pain and swelling, fosters healing, and increases flexibility.
Ideally, RICE is an acronym that stands for rest, ice, compress, and elevate, as explained below:
- Rest: This is one of the most effective strategies to begin your healing process. Once you get injured, you must immediately stop what you’re doing and give your muscles and tissues time to repair and rejuvenate. Relaxing for at least 24 hours is advisable to avoid putting weight on the injured area, prevent further damage, and boost recovery.
- Ice: Icing is a proven method of reducing pain and swelling because the cold compresses your blood vessels and lowers circulation to the area. Additionally, it slows down pain receptors causing you to be less sensitive to pain. Physicians recommend applying ice packs to the hurt area for around 15 to 20 minutes every two to three hours for the first two days after the injury. Don’t apply the ice directly to your skin; instead, you can wrap it in a towel or cloth to prevent frostbite.
- Compression: This involves using an elastic bandage to firmly wrap around the injured area to reduce swelling by stopping fluids from developing. It also relieves pain by immobilizing the damaged area. Just ensure not to cover it so tightly to avoid interrupting blood flow or feeling uncomfortable.
- Elevation: Elevation means raising your joint at or above your heart level using a pillow. This minimizes swelling by enabling fluids to subside from the area. If you injured some parts of your body you can’t lift above your heart, like hips and butt, consider lying down on a pillow to help raise it.
3. Eat Foods That Can Aid With The Recovery Process
Nutrition and the type of foods you ingest play essential roles in your healing process. A well-balanced diet provides you with the necessary energy you require to be active throughout the day. It also provides vital nutrients that help your muscles grow and repair. Some of the best foods you can eat while recovering from sports injuries include:
- Foods rich in protein: When you suffer from a sports injury and can’t move a particular body part, it automatically loses mass. This leads to decreased muscle mass, loss of strength and endurance, poor neuromuscular coordination, and increased injury risk. Protein-rich foods can help minimize the risk of losing substantial muscle mass and provide you with the vital nutrients you require to repair the damage. Some primary sources of proteins are meat, beans, nuts, etc.
- Vitamin D and Calcium: Vitamin D is among the best supplements that are crucial modulators of inflammatory circumstances that assist in healing. It’s vital for supporting calcium absorption in the body for bone growth and recovery. On the other hand, calcium aids in the healing of broken bones. It also helps your brain to signal nerves and compress muscles appropriately.
- Fiber-rich foods: During your recovery process, there’s a high chance of gaining weight since you may not be able to exercise regularly and burn calories like before. Therefore, it’s crucial to include fiber-rich food in your diet. In addition to keeping your digestive system healthy, fiber helps you feel full quickly and prevents overeating. Therefore, add foods like spinach, avocado, apple, broccoli, etc., to your diet.
- Fruits and vegetables with vitamin C: Vitamin C contain anti-inflammatory properties that can decrease inflammation. This improves the range of motion and revives your body’s initial state.
4. Remember To Take Care Of Your Mental Health
Physical injury and mental health are closely related. Severe damage can cause mental health issues like anxiety and depression. When you’re physically injured, you can’t do what you formerly enjoyed doing, which can significantly impact your mental health. You may be exercising to relieve stress and relax, and it can be psychologically challenging when you unexpectedly can’t do it. Additionally, some injuries can be chronic, and the fear of not fully recovering can also mentally affect you.
Poor mental health can negatively influence your recovery time. Thus, no matter how serious your injury is, you should always aim at maintaining stable mental health. Here are some tips that can help you improve your emotional wellbeing:
- Be optimistic: When facing complex challenges in life, your brain may tend to cling to negative thoughts. To overcome this, you need to have positive affirmations. Consider writing them down and reading them aloud every time you’re pessimistic.
- Visualize healthy you: Visualizing and performing an action can stimulate critical regions in your brain. Therefore, you can envision yourself being well again and participating in your favorite sport when recovering.
- Respect your feelings: It’s natural to feel disappointed by your inability to help your teammates win a particular game. When such feelings arise, recognize and honor them. This enables you to manage, own, and sail through them.
- Control yourself: You may want to push yourself harder to heal faster and resume your everyday life. However, this may worsen your injury and affect you mentally. For this reason, take control of everything you’re doing. Rest when you need to, and exercise when the right time comes.
- Concentrate on the present: It may be hard not to get ahead. As an athlete, you may want to heal quickly and get back to normal as soon as possible. Remember, healing is a process, and the tissue may take time to repair and recover. Knowing this allows you to live in the moment and understand that a time will come when you’ll fully recover.
5. Give Yourself Time To Heal
As stated above, healing from sports injuries may take days, months, or even longer. The period you may take to heal can never be the same as any of your teammates. This is because the severity of the damage may not be the same, and your age and body type may differ.
For that reason, never criticize yourself when you take longer to heal; allow the injured area to take time and heal by itself. The slower you go, the quicker you get there. When you take the time to invest in your recovery, things promptly change. But when you try hurrying stuff, you may get stuck in the same stage or find yourself repeating the same procedure repeatedly.
6. Get Support From Friends And Family
Social support can significantly help you to recover physically and psychologically from a sports injury. Individuals like friends and family can offer emotional support by listening and giving you advice. They can help you cope with the frustrations and disappointments of injuries. Moreover, such people can cheer you on as you heal and boost your spirits whenever you feel discouraged. Knowing you aren’t alone in recovery can be an enormous support.
7. Stay Hydrated
Water plays an essential role during recovery. It’s a significant component of blood, and when you’re dehydrated, your blood volume reduces. This lowers the oxygen and nutrient supply to the injured area and prolongs its healing period. Therefore, staying hydrated is essential to recover from a sports injury as it ensures the cell-repairing nutrients easily reach the recovery area.
Sports injuries can affect your mobility and quality of life. You can get injured at any time, whether an expert or a beginner. It’s, therefore, essential to seek medication as early as possible. Don’t ignore any injury, no matter how mild it may seem, as it can worsen over time. The rehabilitation process can be tedious and disheartening.
Consider seeking help from knowledgeable sports injury specialists who can provide customized healing strategies and treatments. It reduces your recovery time, and you can resume your activities faster in the long run.