Exercise can aggravate an old injury. If you’ve been injured in the past, you probably don’t want to end up back on the shelf again. Of course, you also likely don’t want to avoid movement out of fear of hurting yourself. So what can you do? Here are a few tips that could help you avoid reinjuring yourself:
- KNOW YOUR LIMITS & WHEN TO REST: A lot of people like to “push on” despite pain while exercising or just in day-to-day life. However, it’s a good idea to make sure that you don’t push too far and hurt yourself. If you’ve been injured in the past, there might be limitations to what you can do. It generally isn’t wise to push yourself past these limitations without discussing the situation with your doctor or rehab team first. There’s nothing wrong with taking a rest. If you feel unwell or if your injury is starting to bother you, take a break and see if the pain persists. If it does, stop what you’re doing. It’s better to miss one day of activity than it is to reinjure yourself and possibly miss months.
- SLEEP IN A “NEUTRAL POSITION”: The position that you sleep in matters a lot. Even if you don’t have an existing injury, you can end up experiencing pain due to your sleeping habits. If you have an old injury, the way you sleep can aggravate it. One way to avoid this is to sleep in a neutral position. This means sleeping in a way that doesn’t result in your back or neck being rotated or pushed out of proper alignment. Ideal positions are on your side or on your back (not on your stomach). Place a supportive pillow under your head and between your knees (when on your side) or under your knees (when on your back). This keeps your spine in proper alignment, reducing the risk of injury.
- AVOID HOLDING ONE POSITION TOO LONG: Sitting or standing for a long period of time can lead to injury. The problem is that many jobs involve remaining stationary for nearly the entire workday. For this reason, it’s important that you take breaks throughout the day to change position. Doing small stretches or range of motion exercises (arm circles, leg lunges, etc.) throughout the day can also reduce your risk of injury.
- TAKE REHAB SERIOUSLY: Proper rehab is a very important part of recovery. If you don’t rehab your injury properly, you greatly increase the chances of reinjuring yourself. During rehab, you will strengthen the muscles in and around the injured area, which will help you better cope with your injury. Rehab will also help improve your range of motion, helping you perform better and reduce the risk of future injury. In addition, it’s important that you take the time to understand and treat the root causes of your injury. Often times, soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia) becomes damaged for various reasons. These injured tissues can scar, changing how your body moves. Your body will then often work to compensate, which can lead to bad body mechanics and pain. A physiotherapist can help you recognize the causes of your pain and work with you to correct the issues that are causing trouble. This can alleviate pain and reduce the risk of re-injury.
If you need help with a recent or chronic injury, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Remember, at Physiomed…Healthier Starts Here.