Five Ways You Can Assist Your Recovery from a Back Injury
Your back is a large, complex and extremely important part of your body. It copes with a great deal of strain from simple daily living. Think of how much your back contributes to your entire physiology. It allows you to stand, sit, walk, run, and lift. Injuring your back can cause a great deal of discomfort and stop you performing your normal, day to day activities.
If you have injured your back, here are five ways that may help assist your rehabilitation. Please check with your registered health practitioner before embarking on any methods to aid your recovery to ensure the procedure is right for you.
According to two studies, published separately in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2011) and Annals of Internal Medicine (2011), participating in the practice of yoga can help with lower back pain.
Dianne Kenny, who is a fully qualified yoga teacher and Director of the Courtyard Centre for Health & Wellbeing in Biggleswade, states that yoga differs from Physiotherapy in that it takes a holistic approach to healing, concentrating on the breath, mind and body as a whole.
According to Dianne, “the most important thing you can do to assist your recovery from a back injury is to keep moving”. She goes on to say, “even if the injury is serious, you can lie on your front and breathe into your diaphragm which will help massage both the upper and lower back. This exercise also massages the adrenal glands, and studies have shown that this helps relieve and release stress, anxiety and discomfort which helps aid recovery”. Dianne also points out that it is important to find an experienced yoga teacher who is properly qualified in restorative yoga practice. Their qualification should be recognised by the British Wheel of Yoga, the ‘Sport England’ recognised national governing body for yoga.
Studies have shown that both full-body relaxation massage and targeted deep-tissue massage performed by a fully trained therapist can help relieve back pain.
Massage Therapy assists recovery by ‘massaging out’ the scar tissues that can form hard lines after a strain or pulled muscle occurs. When these scar tissues form they may not necessarily conform to the existing muscle and this can interfere with the way the muscle functions. Once these scar tissues are massaged away, stretching and strengthening exercises designed to assist back injury recovery will become more effective.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water is a natural anti-inflammatory and studies have shown that patients who drink plenty of water experience a reduction in back pain. Drinking water has also been shown to hasten athletes’ recovery during injury rehabilitation.
If you are receiving massage therapy it is important to keep up your fluid intake. When a knot in the muscle is released during a massage treatment lactic acid is also discharged. Drinking water helps flush the lactic acid out of your muscles more efficiently.
Eat Healing Foods
When your body is trying to recover from an injury, it is essential to eat a healthy diet that includes foods that can aide your body to heal faster. Increasing your intake of the following will assist with your recovery:
• Vitamin C which helps to build new protein for tendons and blood vessels and assists in maintaining cartilage and bone tissue. Berries, broccoli, citrus fruits and peppers all contain high levels of vitamin C.
• Zinc helps the fats and proteins from other foods you consume heal and replace any injured tissue. Oysters, nuts, seeds and chicken are all high in zinc.
• Protein is essential for building and healing muscle. It also helps repair bones and restores collagen. Try to eat good quality protein such as eggs, lean meat and dairy products at every meal.
• Omega 3 can assist in reducing inflammation which can cause pain and impede recovery. Include oily fish such as salmon and mackerel in your diet to increase your intake of Omega 3.
Ice and Heat
Ice and heat can work together to help heal your back (especially in cases of lower back injury). When you first receive the injury, apply ice. It will help control the inflammation and reduce pain.
A heat pack can be used to relax painful muscle spasms and help relieve tension in the ligaments; however, you should avoid applying it until approximately three days after sustaining the back injury as it can contribute to inflammation.
Back injuries can be painful, preventing you from participating in life to the fullest extent. However, by incorporating these simple suggestions into your recovery program, you will be able to move forward with your rehabilitation and recover as soon as possible.