Injury isn’t really something we like to consider, and the best policy is preventative. However, we must expect the best, prepare of the worst. What you may not consider is the long term affects of prolonged repetitive actions such as jogging, cycling or common movements but this is more of a slow death. In this piece we’re going to dive into the initial response to an immediately debilitating injury so we can get back into action ASAP. Btw, getting back quick usually means less long term affects as well.
Injury goes through 3 big phases.
The first 72hr belong to Inflamation. As much as we like to consider this bad, millions of years of animals recovering from injuries means that the process is legit. So trust it….to a point.The 2nd is Proliferation, this would be equivalent to a scab. “Scabs” happen inside the body just like outside, so when you have a huge bruise…stop playing with it, your body is literally bleeding like crazy on the inside.
Then there is the Remodeling stage. For example this would be 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?
First, Let the initial inflammation take it’s course….it’s a good thing.
This brings blood to the area that needs healing. This is the bodies natural healing process and none of us are going to outsmart millions of years of evolution. Let that blood flow bring good stuff to the area.
The only difference between swelling and a laceration is the skin is still in tact around it. So, if you had a huge open wound, it’s a good idea to throw ice on it and decrease the loss of blood. With excessive swelling, same thing. The difficulty will be judging what is considered “excessive”.
2) NSAIDS such as Ibuprofen. If you ‘have’ to have something for the pain (which begins and ends in your brain, it’s a response that’s programmed in there to stop you from further breaking down your tissues, it’s your body keeping you from being stupid, listen to it), but if you have to take something, acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) is a better option.
NSAIDS like Ibuprofen have been shown to make for poor tissue repair.
Celebrex actually tested out very poorly when it came to ligament strength. If it’s my body, I’m taking precaution to using such things that research is continuing to make light on.
3) Get younger
Simply put the body accepts change and heals better when it’s younger, so if you do get injured be glad that you are the age that 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. There must be something to it.
You must eat more in order to recover. Your metabolic needs just went up because the body now has to repair the injured tissue. I used to have a friend that worked as a dietitian in the burn unit of the hospital. It was very interesting to hear her speak on how she would calculate the caloric needs of someone that had a traumatic burn. An injured body is the same thing, it needs more calories and more protein to make new tissue and get that area as close as it can to what it was before.
The list is long, and should ONLY be use for 2-4weeks TOPS. Further usage can be detrimental. However the affects of a few “grass clippings” can help us immensely.
Add 3-9grams of Fish Oil/day. Sources include: Carlsons, FlameOut, Athletic Greens, Douglas Laboratories. Don’t skimp on this. For the others below I’d pick a mid level brand and call it good. You are only on those for 2,4weeks.
Glutamine 14g/day: 7g in the morning + 7g evening
Arginine 14g/day: 7g in the morning + 7g evening
HMB (Beta Hydroxyl Beta Methylbuterate) 3g/day: 1.5g morning + 1.5g evening
VitaminA 10,000iu/day: 5,000iu morning + 5,000iu evening
VitaminC 2g/day: 1g morning + 1g evening
Vitamin C is also one of those supplements that people want to take excessively. Injuries are actually one of the few things it has good use for (outside of the normal range we should get with our diet)…Since I’m on the subject it’s been proven over and over again that VitaminC has NO affect on boosting the immune system unless we are absurdly low. Take some extra Vitamin C post injury, otherwise save your $.
Hormone regulation, especially human growth hormone and testosterone (heavier hitters in the repair game)
And the overall recovery activity that occurs during sleep
This one is big
Recovery LOVES sleep
Stress can be physically or psychologically induced. An injury is a source of stress. So how do we learn to manage stress. To keep it simple here, a positive and relentless attitude goes far when coming back from an injury. Stressing about it psychologically, isn’t not going to help us recovery faster, it’ll slow it down.
8) What does “REST” really mean
It does NOT mean sit on the couch and watch TV. I’ve trained people on crutches, broken arms, broken legs, and you name it. A sprained ankle still leaves three good limbs and a core. Blood flow is the key to getting that thing healed.
“Rest” means scaling back and doing what is appropriate. A broken leg leaves plenty of room for upper body work. Besides that, what would be the point of letting the other leg go to mush?
The body will acquire 70% of the gains on the untrained leg. Seriously. If we only train one side, the untrained side will get 70% of the gains of the other limb. Your body is extremely smart.
9) Be glad you are not Diabetic
Diabetics have a hard time healing. When we get into insulin sensitivity issues EVERYTHING changes. So either be thankful you are not diabetic or do something about it. You are only a victim of your own reality. Most have a self inflicted “disease”. Only about 1-2% of the population is genetically diabetic. Which means, start eating vegetables and exercising.
Obviously this is in contradiction to #1. After a week that inflammation and extra blood flow isn’t helping. Now it’s time to decrease the inflammation, and there in lies……The ICE.
It’s pretty simple. Apply ice directly to the site of inflammation for 15-20. Can also get a couple big bags of ice, fill the bath tub and hanging out for a 15-20minutes. Just keep it under 20min.
11) The biggest thing to do is being very aware of the victim mentality.
It is very common, and understandably so to be down about this whole thing. It happens. We all go through lows. The question is…how is this mentality serving you? How is it helping anything? It’s not. It’s you feeling sorry for yourself and negatively affecting all those around you. This isn’t a time for self deprecation. It’s a time for action.
Okay, you’re injured. Bummer. Stop wallowing. Get up and do something about it.