The road to recovery
Tips on the best way to tackle sports injuries
- Pre-hap is better than rehab. By recognizing your weaknesses you can train away red flags before they become problems.
- Dramatic increases in the time you spend training, the resistance you use or the distance covered makes injury more likely. Have a proper development program and don’t be tempted to get ahead of yourself.
- People tend to think fast-paced at the gym. Team cardio and weights with gyrotonics or Pilates, which teach you to stretch and control your movements by utilizing auxiliary muscles as well as the bigger, more obvious muscle groups, for better all-round control.
- Consider alternatives to anti-inflammatories – like localized steroid injections or topical creams, if possible. Standard anti-inflammatory medications (such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen and Diclofenac) reduce swelling but inhibit collagen production, which is vital in repairing tendons, and diminish blood flow to the kidneys. This increases toxins in the blood, causing a dull, hangover-like feeling.
- Protect your gut. Anti-inflammatory medicine can cause holes in the lining of the small intestines, causing irregular bowel movements, IBS-like symptoms such as bloating and noticeable changes in stools. Probiotics, supplements such as L-glutamine (2,000mg a day to heal gut ulceration) or slippery elm back (two level teaspoons a day) and aloe vera juice will all help defend against that.
- An alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs, homeopathic arnica strength 30C (available from Boots) taken for three days aids pain-relief and reduces swelling in muscular and skeletal strains, has not drug interactions and won’t affect the gut. Paracetamol is perfectly safe when taken as directed and works independently of arnica. If there’s no improvement after three days, seek further medical opinion.
- Niggling pain is not normal. Headaches can be muscular in origin and postural problems can lead to a tight upper neck, which can lead to dizziness, among other symptoms.
- See a physio sooner rather than later. Treatment is most effective the first time you injure yourself. Ignoring the problem altogether can have a cascade effect on other areas of the body as muscles compensate.
- Keep scar tissue supple with massage. People with appendix scars who develop back pain as the scar tissue inhibits normal muscle movement. Deeply massaging scar tissue in lots of different directions helps break it down, but it’s essential to get your consultant to confirm it’s healed first.