Injuries are a part of life. I know it sucks but there's nothing you can do which will completely guarantee you won't get injured. Sometimes little pains just creep up on you and you have absolutely no idea how it happened. Now what to do about it? I can tell you that the absolute worst thing is to do nothing and hope it will get better. Trust me, the pain will just hang around forever. And even if it starts to feel a bit better, the minute you try and do a workout the pain will come back!
There are few steps to take to drastically reduce your recovery time.
1) Find the exercises that cause ZERO pain and then work them hard! This doesn't mean doing the same exercise that previously caused pain with a lighter weight. And it doesn't mean doing movements where you can tolerate it but it still hurts. It has to be zero pain. You have to work those waste products out of there and increase blood flow.
2) In addition the exercises for the injured muscle/joint, add exercises that will help with muscular imbalances. It's very common for people to neglect the posterior muscles like hamstrings, back, triceps, etc. and focus on the muscles on the front of the body. In martial arts, this is very common. There are so many people who will do an absolute ton of pushups but NOTHING for their backs and rear shoulders. What ends up happening is a horrible muscular imbalance and as a result, shoulder pain. Always figure out the antagonistic (or opposing) muscle and train that too!
3) Hot/Cold treatments. There are many ways to do this. Some people use linaments or balms. Others use hot packs, cold packs. My personal favourite is hydrotherapy. It's not always possible depending on the area that's been injured. But let's say it's your foot, ankle, or maybe your elbow. Take two buckets of water. One filled with hot water and the other with cold water. Submerge the injured bodypart in the hot water for 30 seconds, immediately pull it out and submerge it in the cold water for 30 seconds, and then repeat this procedure four more times (a total of 5 minutes). You can do this morning and night and the results are quite amazing! If the location of your injury makes this impossible, then use hot and cold packs. But the 30 second method won't really work. You'll probably want to do it for 5 minutes each, maybe repeating one or two times.
4) The last step is to tackle the problem internally to reduce the inflammation. I don't advise using products like Advil or Tylenol except for extreme cases and then only in the critical phases. But there are plenty of natural products out there you can use. Apple Cider Vinegar and honey in a warm glass of water is excellent. Omega-3 and Ubiquinol are also very good to reduce inflammation as is Curcumin. Many people have also used Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate with good results. As far as diet goes, there are some things you can do as well. Salmon with it's high content of fish oil will help. Also blueberries, avocados, and ginger have very good anti-inflammatory properties.
So give these techniques a try and you'll be able to cut your recovery easily by half, maybe more!
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