7 Tips for a Faster Recovery

7 Tips for a Faster RecoveryWhether you’ve experienced a common injury or an acute injury, it’s unsettling to not be at your best for any duration. That’s why patients are so eager to learn and implement strategies for a faster recovery from their symptoms.

When it comes to injury recovery, we’re often stuck just waiting for our bodies to heal. Rest is often the exact thing your body needs to heal naturally and safely. However, there may also be active steps to take at nearly every stage of the recovery process. Here are seven tips for a faster recovery that apply to many (but not all) types of injury:

*DISCLAIMER* injuries can range from common and familiar to severe and life-threatening. Diagnosing and providing care advice is best done in-person by a medical professional.

1: Implement R.I.C.E. Therapy Early and Often

R.I.C.E. stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For certain sports injuries and workplace injuries that don’t require an immediate trip to the ER, this is a safe recommendation for getting ahead of the inflammation and discomfort that come from impact injuries and small tweaks. All 4 steps can be self-implemented at home without equipment or accessories.

Rest is straightforward but generally emphasizes the need to slow down and pay close attention to your body during this recovery period. You don’t want to return to your daily routine too soon and risk reinjury or deny yourself the amount of sleep your body needs to heal.

Ice, compression, and elevation are healing techniques focused on reducing inflammation. Excess inflammation can slow the recovery process, increase the discomfort of the injury, and reduce mobility in the injured area. Using a cold compress while elevating the injured body part is a powerful treatment combination that can expedite the recovery process. Apply ice to injuries for no longer than 20 minutes per session. Compression can be applied as needed to reduce swelling. Ensure that wraps are loose enough that circulation is not cut off. Elevation can be applied as needed, with breaks to prevent loss of sensation (numbness) in the affected area.

2: Receive the Right Care Fast

Your initial actions following an injury set the stage for how your recovery progresses. Taking no action, in the hope that your injuries are not serious, could cause a significant delay in your recovery and potentially lead to chronic side effects.

Take into consideration the full context of your symptoms and the event of your injury. How have your symptoms progressed since your accident? If you notice signs of swelling, discoloration, severe pain, and/or immobility around the injured area, you should seek care right away.

Depending on the severity of your symptoms and the part of your body that is injured, you should be able to find the appropriate specialist in your area who can diagnose and treat your condition. Your medical provider will advise you on what additional steps to take to ensure your recovery is not only fast but also successful.

You can use our Directory of Medical Providers to find the right specialist in your area to provide the care you need for a speedy and complete recovery.

3: Adjust Your Diet Accordingly

Dietary nutrients are a major part of what helps our bodies recover from injuries. A healthy diet allows our bodies to function optimally, so during a time of healing our bodies are going to rely even more on the nutrients needed to activate the healing we need. Key nutrients your body needs during recovery are protein, healthy fatty acids, fiber, zinc, and vitamins C and D.

Protein helps damaged muscle tissue recover from serious tears and strains. Healthy fatty acids are necessary to manage the excess inflammation that occurs around injuries. Fiber (in addition to fats and proteins) can help you feel fuller, faster, which may minimize weight gain during a period of immobility. Zinc is a necessary component in your body’s healing and growth processes. Vitamin C helps reduce inflammation and provides bone, muscle, and tendon tissue with collagen, making them more resilient. Consuming foods and supplements with vitamin D or calcium helps broken bones.

4: Try Not to Stagnate

While rest is a significant part of the recovery process, too much immobility can stunt your healing. Injured muscles, tendons, and bones can lose proper alignment, mobility, and resilience if they aren’t exercised after a serious injury (at the appropriate time as recommended by your doctor). Movement and exercise will also prevent other body parts from deteriorating while you’re on the mend.

It’s recommended to work with a physical therapist, when applicable, to ensure that you’re stretching and exercising with proper form and not over- or under-exerting. You don’t want to go through weeks of hard work and discomfort only to experience a setback or incomplete recovery.

5: Increase Your Self-Care Habits

When you’re not feeling your best, it can be hard enough to get through the day. However, taking extra care of yourself will bode well in the long run of your recovery. Showering regularly, eating healthy, sleeping well, taking care of your skin, etc., will all help your body during this vulnerable stage. Dry skin can especially become an issue. Moisturizing the dry skin around injuries will help the skin rebound successfully.

6: Get Engaged With Your Recovery

The more engaged you are with your recovery journey, the more likely you are to recover quickly. Take note of what your medical advisors recommend, consider changes you can make to support greater safety, and push yourself (responsibly) through any exercises and stretches that will help your body return to full strength and mobility. Be sure to use the tools, devices, and techniques your doctors provide.

Taking control during the difficult times of injury recovery can also provide a morale boost. Feeling strong mentally will help you as you work to recover from your physical injuries.

7: Listen to Your Doctor and Your Body

Doctors and other medical specialists have an immense amount of knowledge about the human body and how it can respond to both injuries and treatments. When they give advice regarding an injury or ailment, it’s best to act on that advice. Their advice may involve a lifestyle change, diet recommendation, exercise, or self-care routine suggestion.

Some of what you hear in the doctor’s office may seem excessive or, alternately, underwhelming. The key to maximizing the advice of your physician is to carefully observe your body and its reactions to a given injury, treatment, or exercise. You don’t want to over- or under-exert yourself and experience a setback. By trusting your body’s response to treatment and your doctor’s guidance, you can work through your recovery safely and effectively.

Common Injuries