When professional athletes get injured it’s just as painful as when it happens to you, they just have more at stake financially. When the pros get sports injuries, they have a team of experts available to guide them through a quick recovery. Although you might not have these types of resources, you can still take advantage of their time-tested techniques for accelerating the healing process.
Use these tips from the pros to help you recover from sports injuries more quickly:
Become One with the Bench
Nobody likes to watch their own team play from the sidelines while they have an injury, and solo athletes are always itching to get back to their regular routine. However, every professional trainer will tell you that rest is absolutely essential to a faster recovery. Returning to athletic activity too soon can actually prolong your down time, so have some patience. Rest is especially critical in the first few days after an injury. It might not feel like you’re not doing anything at all, but when you have a sports injury, your body works hard to repair damaged tissues and cells.
You Gotta Go to Rehab
Starting physical therapy as soon as you can after an injury gets you on a faster path to a full recovery. The sooner you can start improving strength, flexibility, and range of motion, the faster you will be able to return your previous athletic level. Physical therapy also helps you prevent future injuries by demonstrating proper techniques, emphasizing the importance of warming up and cooling down, and by strengthening the muscles surrounding the area that was injured. The pros start physical therapy as soon as possible and often do multiple sessions a day. This might not be practical for you, but you can talk to your physical therapist about what you can do on your own to help speed up the recovery process.
Ice, Ice, Baby
Every athlete knows that cold therapy is an important component of recovering from sports injuries, but the fact is that most people don’t do the treatment frequently enough or for long enough periods of time. Professional athletes have the benefit of doctors and trainers telling them exactly what to do and when. They also have specialized equipment that makes it much easier to apply cold therapy. Fortunately, you can also get access to a cold therapy machine like Game Ready through your doctor or physical therapist.
This is Yourself…Under Pressure
Another technique the pros use to speed up injury recovery is active compression. Instead of compression bandages that apply only static pressure, active compression pumps excess fluid away from the injured area to reduce swelling. At the same time, it brings freshly oxygenated blood to help promote healing. A cold therapy machine combines this active compression with cold treatment to efficiently provide two benefits in one. Pro trainers may also recommend the use of compression sleeves to maintain pressure while not using a cold therapy machine.
Walk Down to Electric Avenue
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is often used by pro trainers to help reduce the pain associated with sports injuries. While it does not directly accelerate the healing process, it does make your recovery more comfortable and allows you to feel less pain during physical therapy and other activities. You can get a TENS machine for home use if you want to use this drug-free method to reduce pain.
The Need for Speed
One of the greatest advantages that pro athletes have after sustaining a sports injury is fast care. Ice and compression are immediately applied, often even while the athlete is still on the field, to control the body’s natural inflammatory response and limit the amount of swelling that is allowed to occur. This quick response can shave days off your recovery time, so remember it next time you get injured.
When you get a sports injury, remember to apply cold and compression immediately, and consider renting Game Ready so you can conveniently get treatment as many times as you need to throughout the day. Seek out help from a physical therapist sooner than later to get on the fast track to recovery, and take the time to get as much rest as you need so that when you do return to athletic activity your body is ready to go as far as you push it.