We all know an athlete that makes us cringe when we watch them on the field because they have been injured so many times. No matter how great of a player they can be or have been in the past, their list of injuries is always in the back of our minds.
Sports injuries are no fun, and one of the worst parts is the waiting. It can be difficult to take it easy and say “no” to training or getting back in the game. You don’t like sitting on the sidelines. You don’t like not being able to help your teammates.
But the best thing you can do (and are hopefully encouraged to do) is rest. Depending on the nature of the injury, you may have decreased energy and abilities for weeks – or longer – while your body is healing. And if you try to do too much too soon, it can have a horrible impact on both your body and your performance in the long-term.
Recovery is extremely important for any athlete, whether they have been injured or are simply training. During physical activity, our muscle tissues break down. This is necessary for them to regrow and get stronger, but we have to give them time if we want them to actually do that.
This is why a good night’s sleep is so important. It serves as a period of rest and recovery between each workout so that our muscles can heal and get stronger. Then, you can repeat the process all over again.
For a typical workout with typical tissue damage, that good night’s sleep and some stretching should be enough for a prime recovery. But more serious damage requires more time to recover before you can get back into training or on the field. It’s as simple as that.
What Happens If You Don’t Take Time to Recover?
Simply put? Bad things. Like getting hurt again.
A subsequent injury while you are still trying to heal can cause even further and more serious damage. For example, let’s talk about head injuries. All head injuries should be checked out right away. Letting a concussion or potential internal bleeding go unchecked for too long can cause serious damage in itself.
But if you suffer a second head injury while the first one is still healing, you could have second impact syndrome. This is something that can have lifelong and irreversible consequences.
Now let’s talk about back injuries. If you suffer a blow to your spine or damage to your back, you will most likely be dealing with misalignment of the spine. We see minor cases of misalignment throughout the body during a typical workout, which is why stretching before and after a workout is so important.
But a more serious back injury can cause more serious misalignment. You may also suffer from herniated discs or other symptoms that move parts of your spine out of their proper place. And if you don’t take the time to get your spine realigned, you may be putting pressure on a weaker spine and back when you get back in the game. Subsequent injuries on a misaligned spine can be extremely dangerous.
Tips for Resting and Recovering
Whether you are a player, the parent of an athlete, a coach, or another loved one, it is important to know that despite the pressure to get back in the game, health has to come before anything else. Athletes need to be focused on what they can do to rest and get their bodies back to 100%.
Recovery does not necessarily mean becoming a couch potato for weeks on end, either. In fact, for back and other muscle injuries, inactivity is not always effective. But rather than going back to the exact same training routine and level of activity, it is important to shift focus and engage in gentle exercises and ways to get the body back into alignment.
For back injuries, a visit to the chiropractor is also recommended.
Remember how we said your spine can become misaligned and things can move out of their proper place? Chiropractic adjustments and spinal decompression will be able to help your spine go back to its strongest form. Many chiropractors also offer physical therapy and exercise therapy to gently bring your muscles back to a position where they can endure more serious training or physical activity.
For information on how you can recover from your sports injury with chiropractic adjustments and different forms of physical therapy, make an appointment today.
About the Author:
Dr. Marc Browner is the Founder of iChiropractic and Wellness in Naples, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida in 1991, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic in 1995. In private practice since 1998, Dr. Browner is a member of the Florida Chiropractic Society, the Florida Chiropractic Association, and he attends continuing education seminars, classes, and workshops to remain abreast of the most current treatment methods and technological advances in the field.