I get asked as much for injury advice as I do fitness advice, I am not a physiotherapist and certainly not a doctor so my first tip would be to go and see one of them if the injury persists or may be serious.
However, I realise physiotherapists can be expensive and not always necessary for minor injuries and doctors are busy people.
So here are my tips for minor muscle tears, sprains & strains:
If you notice the injury occur whether it in the gym or in sport the best thing you can do is stop any further damage from happening, don’t simply carry on hoping it will go away.
2) Ice & Elevation:
Mixed opinions flying around at the moment about the use of ice but my current advice is to apply ice to the area for 12-15min at a time for up to 8 hours post injury. If possible (e.g. for limb injuries) keep it elevated above the heart for as long as possible each day to improve blood supply and accelerate healing.
After the initial 8 hour icing period regularly apply heat for 12-15mins at a time multiple times/day (help surrounding muscles relax and assists blood flow).
4) Initially NO Static Stretches:
Statically stretching an already torn muscle/connective tissue just does not make sense until the injury is fully healed. You are likely to just make things worse.
5) Avoiding Aggravation of injury:
Stop performing & avoid movements that exacerbate the injury. Avoid large stresses through the area. That does not mean don’t go to the gym, it means for a while you will have to work around the area.
6) Re-introduce Basic Movements:
Once the initial inflammation and most of pain has gone away regularly perform basic movements with the muscle/joint under low stress to begin activating the muscles and increase blood flow further.
(This is the stage I can usually help however steps 1-6 must come first and not be rushed)
Once you have pain free movement you need to progressively strengthen the muscles and return flexibility/mobility to the injured area. It is best to seek some guidance on what exercises to start with and also for some myofascial release & mobility techniques to break up scar tissue and restore unrestricted movement and a good range of motion.
Author - Tom Peto
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