Injuries occur on a daily basis and are very common. They can happen from accidents, falls, illnesses or simply from overuse. They can come on suddenly or over time, can be mild to extremely painful, require surgeries, rest or rehabilitation and can really set back your progress in the gym. What can you do to help prevent, improve or even correct those injuries?
When it comes to injuries it is important to include the four following things to the areas of concern, weakness or injury.
Strength training is important as weak muscles or muscle imbalances play a role in common injuries. Making sure you work a specific muscle along with its opposing muscle will help eliminate imbalances. Muscles are also the driving force of joint movement. In order to keep joints strong, stable and injury free, all muscles surrounding a joint that have an action in moving it, should be strengthened.
Strengthening muscles is really important when it comes to preventing and correcting injuries but it is not the only important element. Flexibility is another important factor. Tight muscles and compressed joints can also play a role in common injuries. Stretching will help lengthen tight muscles and open up joints allowing fluid movement and blood flow. This helps lubricate joints and enhance range of motion.
To further aide in preventing or correcting injuries massage therapy can be extremely helpful to include. Massage increases circulation, blood flow and flexibility. This increase is beneficial in relaxing tight muscles, relieving tension and pain which helps aide the healing process of any current injuries while decreasing the chances of new ones.
RICE is an acronym standing for Rest Ice Compression and Elevation. RICE is good to know and apply with injuries or areas of concern especially where inflammation occurs. If you have areas that tend to have inflammation or are prone to injury RICE is a good way to prevent and decrease that inflammation. Rest in between workouts or activity is necessary for muscle recovery and to prevent overuse injuries. Ice especially after workouts can prevent and minimize any inflammation that may occur. Compression can be used to help prevent or control swelling and elevation will further decrease that swelling.
Each one of these elements alone are important in preventing and correcting injuries but alone may not be enough. By including all four of these elements together you will give your body the greatest chance of living injury and pain free.
For any injuries always consult a doctor first and be sure all of these elements will be beneficial to your specific injury.