Coming back to top shape from an injury

Sylvan Lake fitness trainer says the worst thing to do is ignore an injury

Seems more and more people are coming to me with injuries and asking about getting back in shape, or at least back to function.

If you are following my articles then you know I broke myself in November of 2015 and have been working to get back to my old healthy self.

Obviously injury repair has been a major focus for me in the past 18 months, but the truth is that focus goes back to – well, always.

Seems I am quite an injury creation professional by now.

I have broken, sprained, tore, ripped, smashed, cut, punctured and wrecked all sorts of myself. My poor wife had never set foot in a hospital before she met me, now she is quite clear on how they work, in several countries and provinces.

I don’t do it on purpose or anything, but being a risk taker, it comes up.

Currently I know of people with torn ankle ligaments, broken collar bones, a torn knee cartilage, dislocated toes, inflamed achilles, patellar femoral tears (knee ligament), a shoulder rotator cuff tear, sprained ribs.

On and on.

So of course, the big question is always: what do you do now?

And the answer as always is – it depends. If it’s broken, or you think it might be, you need an xray of course.

Do not wait, get that done. From there it gets fuzzy. A good doctor is a great step one as always, and in Canada, we are so lucky to say that! I have wrecked myself in the good ole USA, and an infected toe was $18,000 to treat (thank goodness for travel insurance!)

While I hope none of us abuse our amazing medical system, I encourage you to make use of it when you need it!

From there, we have physiotherapists, chiropractors and massage therapists as the next likely steps.

A great physio, and we have many in town, can really cover a lot of bases related to soft tissue like muscles, ligaments and tendons. They have so many tools to not only help repair the damage but to assess it and prevent further issues.

My physio in Sylvan helped get my arm range of motion from 90 degrees (can hardly reach the steering wheel of my truck) to 145 degrees (above my head) in six months.

That may seem like a lot, but it brings to bear another aspect of injury rehab – time.

It takes a while to heal and the older we are, the longer it can take. Another asset we have in abundance in town is massage therapy and that itself comes with many options.

From aggressive deep tissue, ART, trigger point therapies all the way to a nice stress release ‘feel wonderful’ massage, all of these have their place.

As we move and challenge our bodies we create adhesions in the fascia and massage can really help to get us moving again.

Of course, if it is a structural limitation, then the chiropractor is the place to go.

Life happens with its bumps, bruises and more and sometimes we get things a little misaligned. When the body senses a joint outside of its range, the surrounding soft tissue forms a sort of ‘cast’ and gets rigid and stiff.

Now your neck doesn’t turn, or your back won’t bend and you need to get ‘well adjusted’.

Beyond those more obvious choices we get into things like acupuncture and one of my personal favourites, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT).

That was one of the key things that brought me back, not only from my multiple surgeries and inflammation, but from my brain injury. HBOT was instrumental in getting my concussion to heal in record time and get me back to my old self. It is brilliant that we have an HBOT clinic here in Red Deer, and if you have had a concussion, damaged a ligament, or had surgery I highly recommend you check that out.

Above all, the thing you must do is prioritize your injury repair.

Instead of being mad, or cursing out your damaged body, I would suggest that you treat it like a hurt and scared little kid – with love, attention and all the effort you can manage in helping things be right again.

The worst thing you can do with an injury is ignore it and think it will go away.

The body doesn’t work that way in many cases. It will just find a way to adapt. So you will limp, or have reduced range or just compensate. That’s going to help you survive, but I would rather thrive.

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and the owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.