For most people who exercise regularly, injuries are inevitable. We can do everything in our power to try and reduce and eliminate injury, but for most people, it’s going to happen. I am a personal trainer and I see it all the time. Sometimes injuries are completely out of the blue and unavoidable. While some injuries are due to an underlying dysfunction that needs to be corrected in order to heal properly and stop the cycle of injury. For whatever reason you’re injured, it can make it harder to stay motivated in the gym. Injuries make working out both physically and mentally harder.
Here are a few tricks that can help alleviate different injuries to keep you moving forward!
If you are dealing with an injury, sleeping on the right bed and in the right position is important. We spend so much time in bed, it’s amazing how sleeping the wrong way can aggravate an injury. Here are a few examples how I prefer sleeping with different injuries.
Back injuries- Sleep on a firmer bed, possibly memory foam. Sleep on your side with your knees tucked up toward your chest and your lower back rounded. You can put a pillow in between your legs for added support. If you sleep on your back, adding a pillow or two under your knees can help keep the natural curve of your lower back and pressure off your injury.
Shoulder injuries- Sleeping on your back is the safest way to sleep with shoulder injuries. I found by putting a pillow under your knees can not only make it more comfortable but keep you from rolling over on your side, if you’re worried about rolling over on the affected shoulder. If only one shoulder is affected, you can sleep on the unaffected side, while putting a pillow between your body and the affected shoulder for support. You can also sleep on a pillow running down your back. This allows your shoulders to hang over the edge of the pillow and fall back, opening up your chest/shoulder area.
Know Your Limits and Prepare-
If you’re injured, it’s important to know what exercises are safe to do.
How can you be prepared? Stick to a well-thought-out, written fitness plan with only pre-approved exercises. It is easy to forget that a certain exercise or movement aggravates an injury. It’s easy to get ahead of yourself. Having a written plan of exactly what needs to get done can make the world of difference.
When to Ice and When to Heat-
Growing up I thought you were supposed to ice everything. Every injury, ice was good for it. I later found that wasn’t the case, and often heat or a mixture of both ice and heat was better. Knowing when to ice an injury, when to heat an injury, or both could make a big difference.
Ice- Ice draws blood/fluid away and reduces inflammation. Ice is great to use in the beginning stages of healing an injury but usually doesn’t need to be used long term. Because inflammation is apart of the healing process, over icing can slow down the healing process. I also like using ice on tendonitis. Often tendonitis is due to the tendon rubbing up against something else. This then causes the tendon to inflame, which in turn makes it rub more, keeping it perpetually inflamed. Ice is a good way to break out of that cycle.
Heat- Heat is great for tight muscles and getting a muscle to relax. I find this especially useful for back injuries/back pain. Often when there is an injury to the back, the surrounding muscle will tighten, causing more pain. Heat can get those muscles to release. Heat is also useful to use on injuries where there is not a lot of blood flow. Tendons can take a long time to heal because they get poor blood flow. I like using heat to draw blood in and help heal/sooth tendons.
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