None of us are made of lead, and whether because of an obvious trauma or a more subtle overuse or irritation, we will often incur soft tissue injuries. If they’re not resolved quickly they can become 'bigger' dramas and start to affect our daily lives - which is no fun! So here’s my top 3 for getting on top of them…
1. Strengthen. Once the initial pain and inflammation has settled, which typically takes 1-3 weeks, it’s time to start gentle stability exercises. What and when will depend on the severity of the injury. Be consistent - twice a day will make a huge difference. Be patient – no heavy loads, stretching or high reps in the early stage, gradually build things up.
2. Sleep. When we are recovering, we need plenty of growth hormones to aid the healing and repair processes of our tissues. Cortisol is the hormone which breaks down tissues - doing the opposite to our growth hormones. Plenty of sleep lowers cortisol levels – which means our growth hormones can more effectively rebuild injured tissues.
3. Hydrate. Water flushes toxins out of the body, transports nutrients into the cells and helps regulate body temperature and pH balance, all of which is essential for optimal soft tissue healing. Water also helps with muscle soreness and tension so staying well hydrated helps to stop that achy feeling we can all get.
Something I hear all of the time when I discharge clients after an injury is ‘I wish I’d come sooner’. So, when should you seek help? To some extent this will depend on the nature of the injury – if its dramatic and is having a significant impact of your mobility or function for instance then ASAP. If it’s new and more of a niggle, then following some simple RICED* self-treatment at home is a good starting point. Keep this up for 2 weeks and if things still aren’t resolving then it's time to get help. The sooner we treat an issue the less complications arise and the quicker it is to treat.
*RICED = Rest. Ice. Compression & Elevation – if appropriate and Drugs – either oral or topical anti-inflammatories is often sufficient to resolve inflammation and will help the healing process, plus analgesia if required.
Got a question or need some help? Just shout!