Resting after an injury is an important aspect of the recovery process. However, it is possible to rest too much and actually negatively impact your healing and recovery process. When it comes to back pain treatment after an injury, rest is only one of many aspects that help you heal and get back to your normal routines. If you spend too much time resting after an injury, you risk losing strength in your muscles. That weakness can actually make getting back on your feet more difficult, more painful, and even more susceptible to sustaining an injury again. Here’s what you need to know about resting after an injury and how it fits into your recovery process.
The Importance of Rest Immediately After an Injury
One of the most common techniques after a sports injury is known as RICE. The “R” stands for rest, which is an important part of responding to an injury right away. You want to avoid movements and actions that may make the injury worse. Inflammation typically accompanies an injury, and resting gives your body a chance to take a break from engaging those muscles and soft tissues where the injury occurred. Icing the area also helps with addressing the initial inflammation after an injury. Compression and elevation can also address any inflammation that may occur immediately after your injury. When you make time to rest immediately after an injury, it allows your body’s natural healing responses to begin without aggravating the injury or making it worse. However, resting for too long can have a negative impact on your recovery if you aren’t also incorporating other treatment techniques to help you regain your strength and movement.
Steps to a Healthy Recovery from an Injury
Here are the steps to a healthy recovery when you’ve suffered an injury.
The first thing you need to do is address any inflammation in the area. You may try at-home remedies like RICE or taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce swelling in the area. It can take two or three days after the initial injury for swelling and inflammation to start going down.
Talk to your doctor about the best time to start re-engaging your muscles and moving around safely. Once the inflammation has gone down in the area, you will want to initiate a plan for strengthening damaged muscles and soft tissues in the area. Even light stretches can help re-engage those muscles and help avoid atrophy.
Work with your doctor to determine appropriate techniques to improve strength in your damaged or weakened muscles. The stronger your muscles are, the more they can provide support and stability as you recover from your injury. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy as part of your back pain treatment and recovery process.
Regain Range of Motion
In addition to strengthening your muscles, your doctor will also recommend stretches and exercises to help you gently and effectively regain any lost range of motion. Muscles can become stiff and sore if they are rested for too long. An injury can also cause pain, stiffness, and a limited range of motion. Physical therapy and other non-invasive treatment options can help you regain your range of motion in the weeks after the injury occurred.
Improve Healthy Functioning
Part of the recovery process after an injury is making sure your body functions well as a whole. An injury can do more than just affect a specific area; it can actually disrupt healthy functioning in other parts of the body as well. Getting your body moving again with light cardio and physical activity ensures healthy blood flow through your body and to the injured area so that oxygen and nutrients can help you thoroughly recover.
Return to Normal Activity
In order to stay pain free on your next adventure, it is important that you regain your strength and mobility after the injury. If you attempt to return to normal activity too soon, you risk injuring yourself again. Re-injury is also more likely to occur with muscles that have become weakened or atrophied if you rest for too long and don’t engage in healthy physical activity as part of your recovery process.
If you’ve recently been injured, then visit our team of multi-specialty doctors at AICA Orthopedics in Conyers. Learn about our back pain treatment options and how to recover safely and effectively after any type of injury.