There’s nothing more frustrating than being on the sidelines with an injury. You know your body needs the recovery time but it can seem to take forever to recover. When it’s finally time to get back into your sport many times, well-intentioned athletes make mistakes and so often re-injure themselves setting them back even further.
We’ve partnered with Coach Dr. Brianne Showman to bring you some insight on how to best get back in the game after an injury.
If you’ve ever had an injury, this is for you.
Two common scenarios happen when returning to training following an injury:
1) You remember where you were before your injury – how far you were running, how fast you were going, how much you were lifting, etc. – and jump right back into it or something close to it, or
2) You go into the workouts planning to go a shorter distance or use lighter weights, but when you feel good, you decide on the fly to increase.
Regardless of which scenario you choose, both can set you up for disaster in the form of re-injury or setback. Is it a guaranteed setback? No, but the chances of a setback happening when returning from injury and doing ‘too much, too soon’ are high.
Returning to training following injury does not have a ‘one size fits all answer’ because every injury is different and every body responds differently. Still, there are some guidelines to follow to minimize the occurrence of re-injury or setbacks.
Think about what you did as a beginner.
When you first started out running or lifting weights, you likely did not just go out for a 3 mile run on the first day or lift a 135# barbell. You likely started with a short run, maybe one mile of combined running and walking, and the weights were probably light.
There is no shame in starting back at the beginning just to test the body to see what it will handle. It doesn’t mean you will stay there long, but it is better to start light and progress as your body tolerates rather than doing too much and be out of training again for a week or two because you got overly ambitious.
If you are training with people who know what your capabilities were pre-injury, they may encourage you to do more. That does not mean you have to listen. When I was returning from my foot injury, which included time in a boot and several PRP injections, I had several people at the gym tell me what I was lifting looked easy and to put more weight on my bar. At our gym’s Turkey Trot, I had several people encourage me to keep running when I stopped to walk, not knowing I was still in a run/walk protocol at the time. Every time, I kept on ‘my plan’, because I knew what was right for my body.
Be willing to decrease reps or modify/scale movements.
If you go to group classes, there is no rule saying you need to do the number of reps written for the workout. For example, if you are beginning to test jumping movements again and there are 60 reps of jump rope in each round of a workout, maybe drop it down to 15 each round. Or if you were dealing with a shoulder injury and are just getting back on the pullup bar, perhaps you start with 5 reps per round rather than the programmed number.
And don’t forget scaling movements to gain stability and control is also acceptable to do. Back to the jump rope example, if you don’t feel ready to jump yet, maybe modify by doing heel raises to work on the stability and control in the foot and lower leg. Or if it was a shoulder injury and handstand pushups are in a workout, you can easily scale by kneeling on a box instead or doing strict shoulder presses with dumbbells to build up the strength and stability in the shoulder before putting full weight through the arms.
Stick to your plan… but be willing to drop if needed.
When you are starting lighter and shorter in your return to training and testing your body to see what it can tolerate, a workout may feel great so you choose mid-workout to go heavier or longer. This can set you up for disaster. The body often feels great during a workout; it is later that the body tells you it is not happy. If you increase on the fly, that is more likely to happen.
In reverse, sometimes you have a plan but things are not feeling great midway through the workout. Rather than pushing through the pain, be willing to change things – drop weight, decrease reps, change the movement, change your run/walk intervals – or perhaps even stop. There is a time and place to push through discomfort. Returning from injury is not one of them.
Ignore the ego!
Ultimately, you cannot eliminate the risk of re-injury or setback completely because you are returning to activity and testing the body’s tolerance to volume and load again as well as gradually increasing it, but you can at least decrease the risk.
Don’t listen to those around you who want you to do more.
Ignore your emotions and what you want to do and do what you know is appropriate at the given time.
Listen to your body!
When I was returning from my foot injury, I had my fair share of setbacks as I continued to ramp up my volume and load, but the setbacks were never due to me breaking from my plan. I always stuck with my plan of attack. I would have had a lot more setbacks if I chose to break out of my plan, listen to others, listen to my emotions, and do more in any given workout.
How do I use CBD to treat my injury?
Here are three ways to use CBD to help treat an injury:
Supplement with Ultra Gel soft gels – The benefit of soft-gels is that you ingest a precise dose with no waiting, no bad aftertaste, and no mess. Plus, our NanoCell CBD oil delivers 500% more CBD than typical products.
For serious muscle injuries and pain – If you have a muscle injury that is painful and limiting your mobility, consider using our topical Recovery Balm. Our NanoCell CBD penetrates the skin quickly and helps stop the production of pain molecules, so you get almost instant relief.
To prevent injury – It’s never too early to start treating your body with CBD. Used consistently, athletes can improve the effectiveness of their endocannabinoid system, allowing them to recover faster from day-to-day training and be in a better position should an injury occur.
What the Medical Community Says About CBD
CBD is being studied extensively by medical professionals to understand all of its potential benefits. So far, they’ve discovered that your Endocannabinoid system helps keep your immune system in check as it reacts and responds to injuries. This means that if there’s an injury in your body, it can help speed up recovery time!
One study even suggests it has promise when it comes to helping with traumatic brain injury – one of the toughest injuries out there for modern medicine to treat. It’s worth giving CBD a try because who doesn’t want an easier way back onto the game!
About Dr. Brianne Showman
Dr. Brianne Showman is the founder of Get Your Fix Physical Therapy and Performance in Arizona. Brianne is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and specializes in OCR, Running, Barefoot Training and, Functional Movement
Need help? Find out more at getyourfixpt.com.