We are made to move!
The human body is a complex system consisting of over 600 muscles and over 200 bones. We are inherently made to move. However, most of us eventually experience injuries that can make this seem challenging. One of the most common things I hear my patients tell me when I ask them about physical activity, is that they are unable to move because they are in too much pain.
When should I start moving with an injury?
Unfortunately, an increase in sedentary behaviour, such as prolonged positions, can increase overall stiffness and immobility. I am not saying to go do a triathlon following an acute injury. I am talking about slowly reintegrating movement. You may not be ready for impact activities such as running or jumping, or strenuous lifting of weights. This could be something as simple as going for a walk. Start with going for a few minutes at a time and then increase gradually. If walking is too uncomfortable, consider water walking to further reduce the load on the joints. Walking increases lymphatic drainage and improves systemic circulation.
When should I rest?
Don’t get me wrong– there is a time for rest, and this is dependant upon the level of injuries sustained. Consult your health care professional if you are unsure what is safe to do. For example, in acute sports-related concussions, a 24- 48 hour period of physical and cognitive rest is often recommended followed by a gradual return to activity. A 2018 American study found that those who built up to an appropriate level of aerobic activity sooner following concussions, were able to fully return to work and sport more rapidly.
Don’t underestimate the importance of movement with an injury.
Passive therapies, such as chiropractic and massage, are important in injury recovery. But active care should not be underestimated. With your practitioner, start small and create reasonable goals that you can achieve and build upon. For further assistance, try booking with a kinesiologist. Focus on creating habits of activity and soon you will find that exercising won’t be such a pain.
Lawrence, D. W., Richards, D., Comper, P., & Hutchison, M. G. (2018). Earlier time to aerobic exercise is associated with faster recovery following acute sport concussion. PLOS. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0196062