Ways to Aid in Recovery
In the previous articles, we discussed two sports: CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting, both with distinctly different training goals and the occurrence of injuries within their respective regimens. Remarkably, both sports find lower incidences of acute injury compared to chronic or recurrent ones, which may be counterintuitive for the latter. In the following section, we will be looking at ways to aid in recovery (of both acute and chronic) and be proactive in order to prevent these injuries from recurring.
R.I.C.E. Method – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. For those who have done sports in the past, this may seem like the most utilized acronym in sports medicine, but that is because of the effectiveness. Stop the activity you are doing, immediately secure and ice the affected area for 10 – 20 minutes, compress with a bandage and elevate to reduce swelling. Consult a physician as needed, especially in regards to pain medication. As with any severe injuries, seek out immediate medical assistance in order to reduce long-term damage.
Heating – While it is generally best to avoid heat immediately, in the days following an injury, it is best to promote blood flow to the area for to aid in the healing process, especially for soft tissues.
Stretch – For tissue injuries, gently stretching the affected area to avoid stiffness will speed up recovery time by keeping the muscles loosened while promoting blood flow to the affected area. Combining stretching and heating can be beneficial as well.
Gradual Involvement – As the injury heals, and with the instruction of a physician, begin gradual involvement in the activity as directed. Many times this will involve physical exertion levels of under 50%, in order to keep the body’s muscle memory sharp, but without immediately straining the recently healed area.
In order to prevent the occurrence of injuries, or at least severely inhibiting ones, one must consider several important factors:
Stretching – The cornerstone of any injury prevention program is stretching before engaging in physical activity. A solid warm-up to raise heart rate with both active and static stretching will loosen the muscles and eliminate stiffness that is the foundation for nagging injuries.
Technique – Of course, when engaging in activities such as CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting, there is a degree of complexity involved with the techniques. Ensure that a certified trainer or instructor is available when beginning any type of fitness routine, in order to correct mistakes in form that could lead to injury. As expertise improves with lifting, technique should not be completely forgone for increasing weight, form will always be more beneficial than overloading the bar.
Outside Assistance – The least sought after in the preventative trio, but one of the most important. People tend to be hesitant to seek outside help when training, other than perhaps a trainer – but not necessarily a chiropractor or massage therapist. While stretching is an excellent start for beginners – as one becomes more advanced, the needs of the individual do as well, and perhaps attending a therapy session is well within the interest to ensure an injury free body.
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