Getting hurt is the absolute worst. Whether you're a pro or a weekend warrior, getting back on your feet takes time, and the process can be one of self-doubt, frustration, and impatience. On the flip side, anyone that's been through this knows that you'll eventually get better. If I could tell my younger self anything, it would be exactly that: "You're going to get better. Have a positive attitude. Work hard and be patient."
Rather than freaking out, I wanted to provide this mini guide to help you think through your rehab. Of course, not every injury, rehab process, healing time, etc. is the same. Regardless, I like to break the process down into three main areas:
1.Sports rehab techniques
3. Resources (mainly books, article, videos, etc.)
Having an understanding of these will help ease your anxiety and hopefully provide a more thoughtful (and pleasant) rehab. Happy healing!
Sports Rehab Techniques
First things first, let's talk about the sports rehab techniques that have proven to be effective time and time again. One of the most widely recognized and essential aspects of rehab is proper stretching and warm-up routines. This helps prevent further injury and improves flexibility, which is crucial for your overall performance.
If you have a muscle strain, be careful not to overstretch it.
In addition to stretching, strengthening exercises are key to rebuilding the muscles around the injured area. They not only promote healing but also provide better support and stability, reducing the risk of reinjury. And remember, a gradual and progressive approach is best; don't rush it or overexert yourself.
Another vital technique in sports rehab is icing or cryotherapy. Applying ice to the injured area can help reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. Many athletes swear by this simple yet effective method to aid in their recovery.
Ok, those all make sense. But, the key questions I get are:
1. How much?
2. How often?
3. What stretches and strengthening exercises should I be performing?
The answers to all of your questions lie in the hands of a professional.
Look for experienced and certified physical therapists who specialize in sports rehab. These professionals have the knowledge and expertise to create personalized treatment plans tailored to your specific injury and needs. Taking guesses based on what you saw on Instagram or YouTube is a recipe for disaster.
Moreover, don't be afraid to ask questions and seek second opinions. A good practitioner will gladly answer your inquiries and keep you informed about your progress throughout the rehab process. They'll be upfront about what you should be feeling, how long things should take, and their expectations of you for home rehab. Remember, it's your health, and you deserve the best care possible.
One thing that helped me during various rehab processes was learning as I went along. It's not that I didn't trust my physical therapist (ok, maybe I didn't fully trust him), but I was interested in learning more about my injuries and muscle make-up.
One book I'd highly recommend is "The Anatomy of Sports Injuries" by Brad Walker. This comprehensive guide breaks down various sports injuries, their causes, and the appropriate rehab techniques to recover effectively. If anything, it reinforces what you're most likely hearing from your physical therapist, which is good for both mind and body.
For those looking for a practical approach to rehab exercises, "Therapeutic Exercise for Musculoskeletal Injuries" by Peggy A. Houglum is an excellent choice. This book provides clear instructions and illustrations for various rehab exercises, making it easy to follow along on your road to recovery.
Both of these resources are things that you can share with your therapist. You'll certainly feel better if you're invested in the process, and you'll gain a better appreciation for how your body works.
Remember, the key to successful rehab is consistency and patience. There might be setbacks along the way, but with the right techniques, practitioners, and resources, you'll be back in action sooner than you think.
As I near the end of this guide, keep in mind that you're not alone in this journey. Many athletes and regular individuals have walked the same path, faced the same challenges, and come out stronger on the other side. So stay positive, stay dedicated, and remember that each step you take in your sports rehab is a step closer to victory.
With that, I wish you the best of luck on your road to recovery! You've got this, and soon enough, you'll be back in the game, doing what you love most. Keep pushing forward, and don't forget to celebrate every small achievement along the way. You're well on your way to conquering your sports injury and getting back to your active and fulfilling lifestyle!
*For additional books on Sports Science, please see our article here.
John Willkom is the author of Amazon best-selling basketball books: Walk-On Warrior and No Fear In The Arena. John is an avid reader, sports fan, and father to two incredible little girls.
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