The Road To Recovery: Exercises To Help Injuries
If you didn’t exercise before, then you definitely won’t want to exercise while you’re injured.
But, exercise increases blood flow to the injured area. This aids in tissue repair while the muscles and bones are strengthened through repeated use. This is why physiotherapy comes so highly recommended by doctors. Not only does it aid in the recovery of physical injuries, but also some brain diseases like Parkinson’s.
For those who want help for their injuries, professional physiotherapists are available through the NHS and private clinics and while we do recommend you use their services first, long waiting times and high prices may discourage you from doing so.
In this blog, we hope to show you several exercises for injuries that will help you recover and get your life back on track. Be warned however, that performing your own physiotherapy routines runs the risk of worsening your injuries. So, let’s start by walking through how to approach exercising when injured.
Easing Yourself into Exercise After Injury
Much like warming up and cooling down it is important to prepare yourself for exercise. However, when injured a full exercise routine is going to be too much and risk further injury. So instead of recommending the warm up and cool down routines we’ve discussed in previous blogs, here are 6 steps from paulgoughphysio.com to help ease you into exercising:
Take It Slow – Even if you don’t exercise regularly, it can be tempting to leap headfirst into it so you can recover faster, but you’ll end up doing the exact opposite. Weakened muscles are more likely to incur another injury, so take it slow, ease yourself into exercise gradually and if you feel pain – STOP.
Begin with Walking – As the most natural type of movement your body performs, it’s an easy way to keep active without risking further injury. Swimming is another easy exercise to perform while injured, so choose whichever you prefer and take it slow.
Pain is Pain – The phrase “no pain, no gain” is popular among gym fanatics, but not among those with injuries. If you’re in pain, that’s your body telling you that you’ve gone too far, so remember to rest when it happens and try again when the pain subsides.
Work on Your Balance – This may sound odd, but doing balance-improving exercises will improve your posture and strength your core, essential for exercising safely and aiding recovery. You can find some easy balance exercises in our blog: Easy, Pain Free Exercises for Over 50s.
Eat Well and Keep Hydrated – Like with exercise and healthy living, the right food and water plays a big role in the healing process. Avoid alcohol and junk food during your recovery, eat natural, whole food meals (many of which can be found in our recipe blogs this month) and drink plenty of fluids.
Get Help – If you can find the time and/or money, get a physiotherapist to tailor a workout that can help you recover quickly and safely. If not, then have a friend join in with your exercises to keep up morale and spot any issues.
With the pace set, you’re now ready to start your journey on the road to recovery.
As established before, it is important to take your time and listen to your body when attempting home physiotherapy. You don’t want to risk further injury. So here are our recommended workouts for both general recovery and for common specific injuries:
Physiotherapy Exercises To Do At Home (from doctorcall.co.uk)
The Bridge – Lie with your back in a small arc, your knees bent hip-width apart, feet flat on the floor and hands on your chest. Then, take your hips off the floor to form a bridge, keeping your body straight. Hold for 10 seconds, release, then repeat 10 times.
Side-Lying Hip Rotation – Lie on your left side holding your head in your left hand and keeping your right arm lying on top of your side. Bend the right leg so the right foot is resting on your left knee. From this position pull up your right knee, twisting your hip and keeping your foot on your knee. Repeat this motion until you begin to struggle and rest for 30 seconds before flipping over and repeating the exercise with the other hip.
Calf Strengthening – Lift your right leg to a slight bend and balance on your left leg, making sure it stays straight and facing forward. Imagine three points on the floor that are slightly to the right, in the middle and slightly to the left. Push and straighten out the right leg, stretching the calf muscle, to the point slightly to the right while your left leg bends slightly while still facing forward. Return to the starting position and repeat, extending the right leg to the other points on the floor until you begin to struggle. Rest for 30 seconds, then swap legs and repeat the exercise.
Standing-Up Hip Stability – Using a wall or door and keeping your knees facing forward, bend your right knee so your foot is behind you and keep a slight bent in your left knee. Putting your right leg to the door/wall, push against it with your foot and hold for 10 seconds before releasing. Repeat until you begin to struggle and rest for 30 seconds before switching legs and repeating the exercise.
This more general physiotherapy routine exercises the whole body without putting too much pressure on any of the joints. Once again, as this routine also make clear, only exercise until it becomes too much. Don’t push through the pain as you risk causing yourself further injury and a longer recovery.
Top 5 Exercises to Relieve Shoulder & Rotator Cuff Pain (from genesisortho.com)
Arm-Across-Chest Stretch – Hold your right hand straight out in front of you. Reach your left hand behind your elbow and pull your right arm across your chest. If you feel pain in your shoulder, lower your arm until the pain subsides. Hold for 30-60 seconds then relax and repeat with your left arm. Repeat 3-5 times.
Neck Release – Sit up straight then slowly bring your chin toward your chest until you feel the stretch in the back of your neck. Lean your head to the left to stretch your right shoulder or leaning your head to the right to stretch your left shoulder. Hold the stretches for one minute in each direction, breathing deeply and relaxing. Repeat 3-5 times.
Chest Expansion – Put a rope, strap, or even a tie behind your back and grasp it with both hands. While holding the rope/strap/tie, draw your shoulder blades toward each other and gently lift your chin toward the ceiling. Breathe deeply for 10 to 15 seconds and release. Repeat 3-5 times.
Seated Twist – Sit straight up with your knees together. Twist your torso to the right, placing your left hand on the outside of your right thigh. Relax your shoulders as you look right, gentling pushing on your right thigh. Breathe deeply for 10 to 15 seconds and release. Repeat with your left side. Repeat both sides 3-5 times.
The 90/90 Shoulder Stretch – Stand in a doorway or small corridor, holding your arms up so your elbow is at a 90-degree angle and your hands are level to your shoulders. Place each hand on one of the sides of the door frame/corridor, placing one foot forward as you stand up straight. Lean forward and hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.
Shoulder injuries are very common for those working in an office environment, so will help those who have had to leave work due to repetitive strain injuries. Meanwhile, a rotator cuff injury, the most common of shoulder injuries, can be almost debilitating for anyone with a job that requires reaching and moving. So, for any painters or athletes out there, get these exercises in!
Lower Back Pain Exercises (from nhs.uk)
Bottom to Heels Stretch – Kneel on all fours with knees under the hips and hands under the shoulders. Slowly move your bottom back towards your heels as far back as feels comfortable, hold for one deep breath and then return to the starting position. Repeat 8 to 10 times.
Knee Rolls – Lie on your back with your head on a pillow. Bend up your knees, keeping them together as you relax your upper body, keep your shoulders on the floor and tuck in your chin. Roll your knees to one side as far as it feels comfortable, hold for one deep breath and return to the starting position. Repeat 8-10 times for each side.
Back Extensions – Lie on your front and rest on your forearms with your elbows bent. Keeping your neck straight, arch your back up by pushing down on your hands and forearms. Breathe and hold for 5 to 10 seconds before returning to the starting position and repeating 8 to 10 times.
Deep Abdominal Strengthening – Lie on your back with your head on a pillow. Bend up your knees, keeping your feet straight and hip-width apart. Keep your upper body relaxed and your chin tucked in. Breath in, then as you breathe out, gently tense the muscles in your pelvis and lower tummy so they’re pulled towards your chest. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then relax, repeating 5 times.
Pelvic Tilts – Lie on your back with your head on a pillow. Bend up your knees, keeping your feet straight and hip-width apart. Keep your upper body relaxed and your chin tucked in. Gently flatten your back to the floor, tense your stomach muscles and tilt your pelvis towards your heels, creating a small arc in your lower back. Return to the starting position and repeat 10 to 15 times.
Back problems can strike anyone in any job, though they are most common in warehouse and factory workers. While these exercises can help, always see your GP about back pain first. You may be suffering from a far more serious condition that requires surgery, such as a slipped disk or spinal tumours.
So, with your home physiotherapy routine sorted, you’ll be back at work in no time.
Just remember to keep your employers informed so that they understand any changes that need to be made upon your return. However, if you fear becoming injured again or at all due to low sick pay, you can always cover yourself with Income Protection Insurance.
Paying out 60% of your monthly salary tax free, Income Protection keeps your bills paid until you either return to work or your policy runs out. This gives you complete peace of mind when compared to receiving 28 weeks of statutory sick pay worth less than £100 a week. Also, don’t forget that if you buy an insurance policy with us in January, you’ll receive three months free gym membership. If you’d like to know more, click the button below for your free quote and join us next week for healthy meals you can eat while injured, using a surprising kitchen appliance.