As a healthcare practitioner, there is nothing more frustrating than a patient who doesn’t give themself the best chance at a speedy recovery. We spend no more than an hour with you on a weekly basis, so that leaves A LOT of time for you and your injury to spend alone together. Be nice to yourself and give yourself the best opportunity to recuperate. We’ll discuss some factors that can delay your recovery, and what you can do to ensure the speediest recovery possible.
One of the biggest lifestyle factors that delays recovery is smoking. There are a million reasons you should quit smoking, but we realize it’s easier said than done. Just keep in mind, those chemicals you’re breathing into your body make it more difficult for your tissues to heal. Smoking is bad.
Age is also a factor that delays recovery. You won’t heal the same way at 60 as you did when you were 16. There are a few different theories as to why this happens. As we age, we have less growth hormone that helps us heal, we have a weakening immune system and our cells are tired (so replicating to heal injuries is much harder work). Sometimes the golden years aren’t so golden.
Work can also play a big role in a delayed recovery – but probably not in the way that you think. Of course, if you have a shoulder injury and you’re a mechanic who uses your arms all day, modified duties at work will be important to your recovery. If no modified duties are available, that will slow the healing process down. However, did you know that people who are dissatisfied with their job, those who experience workplace conflicts and take prolonged absences from work recover more slowly than those who love their jobs and manage to continue to work while injured. If you can, stick to your daily routines as much as you can. It is in your best interest.
Another big factor is how soon you start therapy. Way too many people wait too long before seeking the help of a professional. We know that sometimes you think an ache or pain will disappear on its own, but before you know it it’ll be three months down the road and the pain will still be there. Be proactive. Get in sooner rather than later and you will experience a much faster (and smoother) recovery time.
The next barrier to recovery won’t be a surprise. Sick people recover slower. If you have one (or many) pre-existing conditions, then your injury will probably take longer to heal. Our patients who are dealing with conditions like osteoarthritis, diabetes, heart conditions or cancer have a harder time healing than our healthier patients. When the body is fighting on many different fronts the resources our body has for healing are split. This doesn’t mean healing is impossible, it just means it will be slower.
Your diet plays a role in the amount of inflammation in your body. Keeping inflammation at a minimum is always a good idea, but it is especially important when you’re recovering from an injury. Sugar, vegetable oils, fried foods, dairy products, and refined carbs are all inflammatory foods. Limiting these in your diet can help you get better faster. On the flip side, there are also some foods that can help fight inflammation. Tomatoes, leafy greens, fruits and almonds are all healthy choices that can help keep inflammation at a minimum. Additionally, our weight plays a big role in how we heal. Obesity makes recovering from an injury much more difficult so making healthy food choices all the time is so important!
The last factor we are going to discuss is fear. The fear your injury will get worse. The fear to move. The fear of pain. The fear to go on with your regular daily routine. All of those fears put a damper on your healing. These are things you should discuss with us at treatments. Don’t be afraid to ask us questions to ease your mind. As a general rule, movement is your best friend. Within your tolerance, you should aim to be as active throughout your recovery. Many patients assume that having an injury means you need to rest and keep the injured area still. The exact opposite is true. Keep moving as much as you can. Complete your household chores as much as you can. You’ll have some therapeutic exercises to complete to help facilitate your recovery, but you also just need to just keep moving. If something doesn’t feel right – ask us. But please, keep moving.
If you have any questions, ask us! We will be more than happy to answer your question.