How to Set Yourself Up for Success when Recovering from Injury

Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a seasoned athlete, someone who lifts heavy weights, or someone who enjoys a stroll on the beach here and there, injuries and minor setbacks can happen. And when they do, it’s never convenient. Recovery takes time and energy that many of us do not have to spare. This is why knowing what to do in case of minor injuries can be helpful. Here are a few tips on how to set yourself up for success when recovering from injury.

1. Build trust with your body

Practice listening to the cues it gives you. Building trust with your body and recognizing your unique patterns will help inform your decisions in the event of an injury or pain.

We’ve all heard the adage “No pain, no gain” but the reality is that the discomfort of exercise feels different from the pain of a strain, injury, or over-exertion. Building trust with your body in the gym includes learning to pay attention to the signs of extreme fatigue or muscle failure and staying below that threshold most of the time.

These signs can include difficulty focusing, trembling, feeling emotional for no particular reason, loss of motor control or balance, and feeling faint or light-headed.

Additionally, when a movement consistently causes pain that doesn’t subside after a few days of resting, it’s time to consider getting outside help and making some modifications. For example, if running causes intense shin splints, it may be time to step back and analyze your running form and what adjustments can be made – rather than simply continuing to run in pain.

Prevention is easier than trying to find a cure.

In everyday life

Practice listening to the cues your body gives you – thirst, hunger, exhaustion, satiety, comfort, safety, and tension are just a few of the signals our bodies send out. Acknowledging and addressing these cues can go a long way in building confidence and equilibrium within one’s body. This might look like taking notice that you feel extra tired one morning, and then structuring your day so that you have time to rest and recharge. This doesn’t have to include huge changes, just small pivots toward listening to your body and away from silencing it.

2. Build relationships with providers who listen to you and support your goals.

These relationships can be with a medical practitioner, a movement coach, a massage therapist, or other provider that is accessible to you. Simply having someone who has familiarity with you and your particular issues who can offer their expertise and be a healthy sounding board can positively affect your outlook when an issue arises. These professionals can provide a support net when help is needed and help parse out if your pain falls into the “get more help” category. They make up the team that can support you when called upon.

This is why regular check-ups and appointments are so valuable. They give providers a baseline for where you are so that, when or if things change, they are better able to recognize the changes.

3. Build the skill of recognizing a serious injury

What does a serious injury look like?

The following symptoms are among those that indicate the need for more urgent assistance:

  • Extensive bruising or bleeding
  • deformity
  • instant range of motion loss
  • stabbing or intense pain
  • swelling
  • feeling faint or nauseous
  • difficulty focusing or speaking
  • a popping sensation followed by a loss of strength, control or movement

This is, by no means, an exhaustive list. However, it is helpful to know what serious injury feels like. This knowledge, coupled with the trust you’ve built within your own body can help you discern when an injury or pain is very serious.

It is always wise to consult a professional when an injury occurs.

4. Build the skill of recovering from minor injury

At some point, every person will experience pain or injury. While the avoidance of such events is ideal, learning how to set yourself up for success when recovering from injury is an empowering, useful skill.

This can look different for different situations. However, the main elements of recovering include at least some of the following:

Rest – Pain can be exhausting. Not to mention, good sleep helps speed recovery.

Time – It takes time for the body to heal. In this time, take the opportunity to focus on a different activity or movement that doesn’t require much of the injured area.

Recovery – Slow re-introduction of movement happens at this stage and is a great time to introduce new modalities as well, such as massage therapy or acupuncture, which can help support and supplement the recovery process.

Rebuilding – Once cleared for exercise, it’s time to establish new patterns and create a new baseline of strength in the area that can be built upon in the future.

If you find yourself with a minor injury or pain and are looking for support in the Eugene, OR area, come visit us at Well Balanced Center for Integrated Care! Our team of professionals will collaborate to find the best combination of care for you!

Want to learn more?

Find out When to Listen to Your Body’s Pain

Click to learn How to Recognize and Assess Pain

Read What Healing Looks Like