Injury is all-too-common for athletes, outdoor enthusiasts, and anyone who lives an active lifestyle. If you've ever been temporarily sidelined by an injury, then you’re probably familiar with the feeling of eagerness to get well and back to your old routine. Unfortunately, when people fail to properly rehab injuries, they can suffer the same injury again.
When people seek rehabilitation therapy for injuries, they can enjoy a number of important benefits. According to research in The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, rehab can help reduce the risk of re-injury. At the same time, rehab also offers a number of other key benefits including:
If you've suffered an injury, rehab is an important step to restoring your physical ability and well-being. Once you've completed your rehab, however, there are still some important considerations you should make before rushing back into your normal activities.
Get an OK from your doctor. Just because you feel ready for intense physical activity doesn't necessarily mean that you are. Before lacing up your sneakers, talk to your doctor, physical therapist, or sports medicine professional to better assess your abilities and limitations. Ask about potential risks and get advice for reducing the likelihood of re-injury.
Don't push yourself. It can be hard for active people to sit idle while their injuries heal. That said, you should never return to your activity or sport until the swelling, pain, and stiffness have improved. Pushing yourself too soon could make your injury worse or make your recovery take much longer.
Mentally prepare. Once you have been cleared for activity again, spend some time thinking about what might have caused your injury. Could you have used better form? Were you not wearing the right protective gear? Did you not take enough time to recover from a previous injury? Even if you did nothing wrong, there still might be ways you can reduce your risk of future injuries.
Start slow. Don't expect to be your old self when you first get back into activity. Your joints, muscles, and ligaments will all need time to regain their strength and flexibility. Take things slowly to help lower your risk of another, more serious injury.
Listen to your body. Whether you're running in a marathon or gardening in your backyard, it's important to know the difference between minor discomfort and pain. While you may be able to push through discomfort, pain is a warning signal from your brain that something is wrong inside your body. Listen to your body and stop an activity if you notice pain. If you notice recurring pain during or after specific activities, talk to your doctor or a sports medicine professional.