Following an injury, getting caught up in the latest and greatest "recovery" tips, tricks, and fads is very easy. You wouldn't believe the things we get asked about. From different Eastern medicine practices such as herbal consumption, to supplements, and even different "self-injections" (not safe) they can find online. What is important is understanding the many components that affect pain levels and recovery. The very easier answer to all this is, to get good quality sleep, eat healthy and nutritious foods, stay hydrated, and do all your recommended rehab.
Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks to optimize recovery and ensure our body gets what it needs to heal/repair itself.
1) Nasal Strips for sleeping
2) Increased protein consumption and decreased fast-food/fried food/things you know aren't good for you
3) Water Fasting
4) Adequate sunlight and movement
Easily one of the best things I did for getting quality sleep (as someone who struggles to stay asleep) was starting to use nasal strips while sleeping in an attempt to get better nasal breathing and less mouth breathing. Sure, it doesn't look the sexiest, but for patients that struggle to get deep and refreshing sleep, I always recommend nasal strips every night to reduce mouth breathing and decrease snoring. It is a cheap and straightforward way to get better sleep. A lot of patients have reported deeper and longer sleep following using them and now some can't sleep without them. I personally use the Breathe Right Extra Strength when I sleep, and I've noticed a huge difference in my sleep quality. Especially since I am a mouth breather.
Here is what I want you to consider when sleeping. If you are not DREAMING consistently, or (if you are a male) not getting nightly/morning erections, you are not getting good, quality sleep. Both are associated with increased parasympathetic nervous system activation, also known as your rest and digest system.
In regards to nutrition, while injured, increasing protein consumption is mostly recommended for those following surgery to increase collagen and proteins in the system throughout the repair process. That's why they typically give you jello in the hospital because it has a lot of collagen. Increasing protein is also good for feeling satiated, especially when you're not able to physically do much. Decreasing your consumption of inflammatory foods aka dog-crap foods will help your body with the repair process because it's not so concerned about digesting crap. A lot of you have some form of food intolerance anyways, so it is smart to avoid those foods at all costs.
In addition, avoiding consumption of foods may be of benefit as well. There are numerous studied effects of fasting. It is becoming more popular in daily practice for individuals. It used to be mostly for religious purposes, but now more and more people are fasting on some scale. Depending on your condition, a 3-day water fast may actually be of major benefit to you. A high majority of us have plenty of fuel stored in our bodies already, and by not giving the body more fuel it has an opportunity to use those reserves and give the digestion system a "break". This may not be safe for everyone, however, for those who are overweight or obese, this is something that should be considered.
My advice: consume nothing but water with a small amount of pink Himalayan salt or unflavored tea or black coffee for 72 hours. You won't believe the power of the body after you experience this.
Finally, to optimize recovery following an injury, go outside. Spend time in the sun and get moving. It sounds very "hippy" to say go outside and be in the sun and it will help with your problems, but more and more research is pointing to the benefits of being outside. The main reason I am recommending this is also because a lot of the times following an injury there will be some form of emotional involvement. To avoid getting upset or getting trapped in your head about when you're going to get better, go for a walk outside when you can. It will help with mental health and physical health. Movement is great for the body during the healing process, but making sure you have a good headspace is just as important.
If you want to give yourself the best chance of healing and recovering following an injury, try 1 of these tips. Some of these may not be feasible for some of you. That's perfectly fine, but remember there is such a thing as an optimal healing environment and practices. These are just some simple and effective ways to create that environment. Give one of these a try and let us know how they help! If you get the nasal strips, try the extra-strength ones. Those will have you smelling into the future!
If you're looking to move better and feel better, search no more. Strength & Spine Chiropractic is THE chiropractic office for you. Schedule your initial appointment today at strengthchiro.com
Dr. Cameron Gholampour DC, MS, CCSP
International Certified Sports Chiropractor
Strength & Spine Chiropractic