If you’ve injured yourself bad enough to stop you doing what you love, you will want to speed up recovery and heal as quickly as possible, minimizing long term damage and get back to your passion.
My experience with this was a few years back while I was surfing in Raglan. The surf was relatively big and while I was riding the wave, the lip (top of the wave) knocked my back foot off my board while my front food stayed on, resulting in me doing the travelling splits. I heard or felt (I’m not sure which) an elastic band snap in my groin! Somehow or other I got myself to safety. Unfortunately I later found out that 1/3 of my abductor muscles had been torn away from the bone. Oucchh. End result was that I was that it was at least a 6-8 week recovery and I may have needed surgery. Not good news for an obsessive surfer.
So what did I do and what can you do to speed up your recovery and heal faster and better.
· RICE initially
· Use a natural anti-inflammatory and healing supplement like Traumeel. It contains homeobatanicals that support a healthy inflammatory response and promote healing. A bit of inflammation is good as brings white blood cells and nutrients to the area that are required for healing. Unlike pharmaceutical anti inflammatories, natural anti inflammatories don’t damage your stomach lining.
· Collagen: Collagen is the major protein in our body that makes things strong and elastic. It makes up all of our tendons, ligaments, bones, joints and skin. By supplementing with collagen you are providing the stimulus and building blocks for injured tissue regeneration.
· Vitamin C: It is required for collagen synthesis so essential for wound and injury repair.
· A cream which contains arnica and comfrey like 37South’s Bumps & Bruises cream: Arnica is well known for its ability to help with bruising and injuries. It has an affinity for the blood vessels and helps with circulation to the injured area to support healing. When applied promptly after an injury, arnica helps stop the capillaries from bleeding, preventing the formation of bruises. It stimulates white blood cell activity and disperses trapped fluids from joints and muscles helping to reduce swelling and speed healing. Comfrey (also called knit bone) promotes healing and supports the growth of new tissue. It has demonstrated in recent years that it is particularly effective helping soft tissue injuries heal, such as strains, sprains and broken bones. Apply as often as possible but not on open wounds. Use 37South’s Wound Care cream instead.
· Rescue Remedy for the emotional shock associated with an injury.
· Visualisation: Spend some time every day visualizing the healing process and sending positive energy to the injured area.
Herbs such as:
Gingko, Bilberry & Gotu Kola increase the micro circulation to get nutrients to the injured area. This is essential for proper and fast healing of injuries and wounds.
Turmeric and ginger: due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties prevent more damage to the injured area.
Echinacea for its regenerative and healing effects on damaged areas of the body.
Bioflavonoids such as quercetin, rutin and bromelain help reduce inflammation, strengthen blood vessels and support the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system brings healing immune cells to the injured area and removes the waste that has been generated by the injury.
Any significant physical or psychological trauma induces a systemic inflammatory reaction and elevates the metabolic rate, increasing the demand for nutrients. Acute inflammation is important to persuade the body to heal. Chronic inflammation, however, changes the way the body recovers after trauma. In order to prevent negative and possibly long-term consequences after a traumatic event, it is therefore important to reduce inflammation and optimise nutrient status. Consuming a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet can improve resilience to trauma and speed recovery after trauma. Important nutrients include essential fatty acids, B vitamins, Magnesium, Zinc, protein and antioxidants.
Make sure you are eating plenty of
Lean protein such as fish and chicken. Proteins are the building blocks of our body and adequate amounts are essential for injury recovery.
Oily fish, nuts and seeds which are high in essential fatty acids. As well as being anti-inflammatory,they lubricate your tendons and ligaments.
A wide array of organic fruit, vegetable and grains to provide you with all the vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that are required for repair.
And go and see the appropriate rehabilitation therapist, whether it is an osteopath, physiotherapist, acupuncturist or chiropractor or a combination of all.
I did all of that and was very lucky to not need surgery. The surgeon was actually extremely surprised at the time of determining whether I did need surgery. “Whatever you are doing, keep doing it because it’s amazing how well you have healed’ he said.