Advice for when recovering from an injury

Even the healthiest and fittest of people are vulnerable to bodily injury and need help to recover properly. There are several ways an injured person can aid recovery and speed up the time it takes to return to full fitness, including diet, exercise and clothing aids.

Aiding recovery

There are all types of injuries, some minor and some major. For example, a sprained ankle is a relatively minor, although painful and inconvenient injury, while a knock on the head is a major injury, causing concussion and possibly a hemorrhage. Most minor injuries can be treated without having to consult a doctor, while head injuries should always be seen by a medical professional, as a person can feel fine initially, only to have a health issue develop later.

For minor injuries, particularly those that involve a muscle group or cause acute pain, the first treatment is to apply an ice pack or other cooling aid. This helps to reduce inflammation, muscle pain and spasms, as it numbs the area and limits the amount of swelling the muscle and flesh undergoes. Once the initial pain has worn off and the swelling has been reduced, it is time to switch from cold to hot. This may be a day or even more after the initial injury occurred. Heat will relax the injured part of your body. It works by stimulating the flow of blood to soothe aching muscles.

Another form of treatment that aids injury by encouraging good blood flow and soothing sore muscles is to use compression clothing, such as that made by the Tommie Cooper brand. Compression clothing is an item of clothing that is designed to be worn tightly around the injured body part, such as arm sleeves for an injured elbow, or tubing around a sore knee. Due to its tightness, compression wear encourages the body to pump blood around the body and thereby reduce inflammation. It is designed to be light and comfortable to wear.

Long-term recovery is best aided by gentle exercise and a healthy, balanced diet. Keeping the body immobile is a poor choice for recovery, as this causes the muscles to seize up and quite soon become unaccustomed to use, thereby causing muscle ache and deterring further activity. While there are no specific foods that directly aid recovery, a healthy body is much more likely to recover quickly than an unhealthy body, and as we are what we eat, diet is an obvious way to achieve a healthy body. If your injury is severe, immobilizing you for a significant period of time, you should avoid overeating, as this can lead to problems later that you may struggle to rectify, such as becoming overweight or even obese. If you are moving around less than you usually do, you should probably reduce your food intake.

It is essential to treat an injury as soon as it occurs and by using a variety of methods, each tailored to the nature of the injury. Hot and cold treatment packs offer immediate relief, while other aids, such as compression wear, can provide all day long treatment.

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About Ferland Manuel

Dr, Manuel Ferland is health care specialist,