The following information is intended as background only and
is not intended as a substitute for professional health care.
 

The first things to do after an injury:

1) Stop doing what you are doing when you get hurt. This sounds self evident, but you would be surprised how many people make the problem worse by continuing the activity thinking, "it will just go away".

 

2) Rest for several days after an injury...then get moving again. Rest takes stress off of damaged tissue and allows the healing process to begin. Rest is good for 2-3 days but prolonged rest can cause problems as it can worsen the injury by allowing inflammation to increase and consolidate.

 

3) ICE - I can't stress this enough. I have actually had people come in to my office from the emergency room, where they had been told to heat an injured area!  Clinical and research has shown that icing after an injury cuts healing time.  If you ice promptly you will cut down swelling, pain, and speed healing. Always ice the first few days following an injury: 7- 10 minutes at a time, 3-4 times a day, for 3-4 days.

 

4) If the pain continues unchanged or if it worsens after 3 days, seek professional care. Delays in diagnosis can be dangerous. Many serious health problems can give rise to back pain. It is important to rule those problems out. Finding the probable cause of the pain is important to proper treatment. Often there may be several potential causes of the pain or injury.

 

5) Once you begin a treatment plan under professional care, make sure to follow the orders of the doctor. This is important so that the treatment plan can be assessed for its effects on your condition.


How to Improve your Performance:


There are several elements which make up your overall performance level. Depending on your sport or game, these will vary in proportion. Some of these elements include:

 

Endurance - Endurance involves the physical and mental ability to maintain a certain level of physical activity over a period of time. Cardio-vascular fitness is enhanced by maintaining your training heart rate for a sustained period of time. Both the training heart rate and duration vary from individual to individual. However, the training heart rate is generally between 70-90% of your maximum heart rate. (Max HR=220-age, although this figure is merely a rough estimate) The duration of time for a non athlete to achieve a training effect is 15 to 30 minutes daily. Depending on your sport or performance your duration at the training heart rate may be from 30 minutes to over and hour. There are many different types of cardiovascular training. These training types vary in the training heart rate, the duration at this rate and in the recovery time. This is a good place to mention that by increasing your cardiovascular fitness, you enhance your ability to perform for longer periods of time, even if you are an anaerobic athlete like a sprinter or basketball player.

 

Strength - Strength is the measure of force which you can produce. This may be the ability to lift heavy weights of the ability to move other athletes, as in blocking in football. The best way to increase strength is with consistent and GRADUAL overloading of muscles. It is important to go slow, it can take several months to achieve strength gains. "No pain , no gain" is an old and partially untrue saying. Pain should only be mild and should never be truly unpleasant. If you are pushing too hard you may risk injury. Always follow proper technique. If you have access to a strength coach learn from him or her. Learning proper techniques pays in the long run.

 

Power - Power can be described as strength/force applied over time. In other words, the ability to produce strength in a unit of time. Power is what enables quickness and explosive effort. Power can be developed by using strength training and specific drills utilizing maximum effort and full recovery. Such drills are now referred to as Plyometric Training.

 

Mental Concentration - Mental attitude and concentration play an important role in all physical challenges. Knowing how to perform the task is important, however it is equally important to ALLOW the body to perform the task. Often overlooked, the mental side of the game is most important, and increases in value as the skill level increases.

 

Game and Performance Skills - By knowing the rules or your sport or by gaining  knowledge of your art, you can increase your efficiency and decrease the likelihood of injury. Always ask questions of other performers, coaches or artists. Learn everyday. Learn all you can about the NATURE of your event or art.

 

Preparation - Preparation can be critical. This may mean such a drastic measure as moving to high altitude in preparation for a high altitude event. It may only require awaking early enough in the morning of competition to be physically and mentally prepared. Always prepare, but never forget to ENJOY what you are doing.

 

When soft tissues like muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints are damaged they heal with scar tissue. Scar tissue, just like that on your skin from a bad cut is different then the tissue it replaces. It has several qualities that alter its nature:

 

Why am I taking so long to Heal? -

When muscle, tendon or ligament ruptures the body repairs the area with scar tissue. (muscle and tendon strains, ligament sprains)



- Scar tissue is less elastic, less flexible, less "stretchable".

 

- Scar tissue is more pain sensitive.

 

- Scar tissue is not as strong as the tissue it replaced, and is easier to re-injure.

 

Scar tissue will form along lines of stress. Therefore if you do not move the injured area the scar tissue forms in a more "hap hazard " manner, which makes it even less flexible and more pain sensitive.

 

One of the primary goals of any soft tissue treatment plan is to create the best quality of scar and healing possible. This is an important concept, because if the damaged tissue is not given early controlled motion, the scar tissue will be of poor quality and create more pain, less motion and be easier to re-injure.

 

Often pain can persist even when the tissue has "healed". This is because of many factors including the formation of poor quality scar tissue healing. The nervous system can also play a role in the continued pain. Nerves learn behavior, and continued pain can lead to the injured tissues responding to normal motion and stress as if it were a painful irritant. The nerves in the area have become used to sending pain information to the spinal cord and brain. This is one reason why motion helps ease pain in many cases. Pain and motion "compete" with each other to get the attention of your brain. Give it motion and pain is eased.

 

How can I heal faster? -

Given time, the right combination of therapeutic tools and a large dose of tenacity, many chronic pain patterns can be helped. Often treatment plans may include co-operation with medical doctors to prescribe pain medications, or other methods of pain control. By giving this "window of opportunity" to move without pain, the patient can retrain the body to function with less pain.

 

Injuries can impact both lifestyles and incomes. Healing quickly is a very critical goal. There are some very tangible things that an injured athlete or non athlete can do to enhance the healing rate.

 

1) Follow your rehabilitation and treatment plan strictly, but give yourself a chance to relax a bit as well. Worry and anxiety will never help speed recovery.

 

2) Eat well. Avoid high fat and high sugar diets. Eat wide varieties of foods to ensure good nutrition. Eat many small meals instead of one large meal. A multi-vitamin/mineral will ensure that you are not deficient in any needed nutrient.

 

3) Ice after you work out hard, or if you push yourself to far. Always ice is you feel throbbing pain, heat or notice swelling.

 

3) Drink plenty of water. Many people (especially athletes) do not drink enough plain water. Water is important for digestion, kidney function, cooling the body and balancing the electrolytes of the body.

 

4) Give yourself adequate rest. Too much rest is a bad thing, too little is a bad thing. As in training; Quality is important not Quantity.

 

5) Avoid fades and "quick fixes". Often these lead to further injury and disappointment. There is no substitute for strongly healed, quality tissues. Balanced with trained and conditioned muscles and nerves, quality tissue healing is unbeatable.

 

6) Stay optimistic and focused. Never give up.