Recovering from back pain and injury can be frustrating and tiresome. If you are sensible you seek great treatment straight away. If you are lucky then your therapist or medical practitioner will inform you of all the factors involved in getting you better effectively and quickly. If not, then read this article. It's a collection of my client's habits during their time with me - what they did to get better. Some of them will surprise you..
Think yourself better
The first and most important habit of healing from injury is your mindset. Henry Ford coined the phrase "whether you think you can or you think you can't you're right". You need to make a pact with yourself about your mindset to getting better. Firstly, think about your beliefs on injury and recovery - do you believe you will get better? Secondly, believe the process of treatment you have chosen to get you better. Thirdly, remind yourself every day that you are further from the initial pain and that bit closer to full recovery. The clients who have recovered quickest from pain are those who have a positive happy outlook on life. They are always laughing and smiling and find good in everything.
Sleep is an integral part of healing and recovery. It's the time when the body is physically at rest and can heal from the tasks and 'damage' of the day. This also includes healing of structures that are injured. Physical recovery happens between 10pm-2am and mental recovery from 2am-6am. When you are changing your posture and creating new movement habits both the brain and the body need recovery. It also helps rejuvenate the immune system and aids the digestive system in processing and absorbing nutrients for recovery.
Eating the right foods for healing and recovery is essential. I often find that if clients need to change their eating habits in conjunction with their recovery from injury many things change. Their mood and outlook improves, they have more energy, they feel better and consequently they get better. The big three things to steer clear of when recovering from injury are sugar and all processed foods, alcohol and any foods you are intolerant to. These three things are highly inflammatory to your body and will slow the process of injury recovery. Foods that heal are good fats like coconut oil, butter, ghee and olive oil and proteins such as meat, eggs and dairy (if you are not intolerant). These are the building blocks of your body!
If you do one thing from reading this article - drink more water. Every cell in your body needs water. Dehydration affects your concentration when you are learning new things such as new movement patterns or holding better posture during an exercise. Dehydration is also stressful to your body and at a time of healing you want to promote a calm parasympathetic state which is the optimal state for healing.
Daily stretching is imperative for those with poor posture. In order to make change you have to break down bad habits and rebuild new ones. Just stretching twice a week in your training sessions will not make adequate change. Super busy Mr K always had tight hamstrings which contributed to his ongoing back pain. I continually asked him to stretch daily - just 2 minutes of stretching a day. Eventually, he gave in and began stretching his hamstrings when he brushed his teeth in the morning. Within 2 weeks he had normal hamstring range and his back began to settle.
I give all my clients a home programme which helps with taking responsibility for their own recovery and it helps break down bad habits and rebuild new ones faster. Clients who are initially resistant to doing their home programme even if it is just 10 minutes a day have a slower start on the road to recovery such as Mrs S. Mrs S does her home exercises for a while and then stops. Within weeks of stopping her home programme the pain returns. Now she knows that she needs to do something 5 out of 7 days a week to stay pain free - so she does
Commitment and consistency
Commitment is essential to recovering from an injury. If you are not committed to making change it just won't happen. Consistency is imperative to effective recovery as well. The nature of change means creating new habits - better alignment, better muscle activation, better synergy of muscles working together. Habits require repetition. Clients who are consistent always improve quickly.
Sometimes clients come to me with very ambitious goals such as Mr R. He had just had a knee operation and also an ankle injury and was keen to get back to his sports games within 2 months. I explained that due to the aggressive nature of his sport that 2 months recovery with just 1 training session per week was not realistic. He set a new goal of returning to full play in the next season giving himself 5 months to recover and get sport strong.
Value the process of learning
Almost always, the unexpected change clients talk about from working with me is how much they learn about their own body. They learn about why their current alignment is contributing to their pain and what the better option is. They learn to identify how good posture feels. They learn to correct their own alignment. Clients tell me they are more motivated to make a change if they know how it will benefit them. And it works!
As I say to all my clients when they begin working with me, "We're in the car and we're on a journey to get you better. I am in the passenger seat and I have the A-Z so I can guide you to where you want to go. You are in the drivers seat. You have to press the gas pedal and get yourself there." When clients take full responsibility and become accountable for their actions they get better faster. No one can make you better but yourself. You have to change your mindset. You have to do your exercises. You have to make sure you get enough sleep and choose the right foods to aid your healing and recovery.
For more information on how I can help you recover from your back pain or injury please contact me, KT, atKT@precisionmovement.co.uk. For more information on how I work with injury recovery please visit the websitewww.precisionmovement.co.uk.