This article was written by and posted on behalf of Health Ambition
Facing an injury can prove to be one of the most frustrating experiences to go through, regardless of how seemingly insignificant the injury is. The pain and discomfort you feel can impact your mental state as well as your productivity in your daily life. While not all injuries are the same and every individual body is different, there are some patterns and common themes to consider in regards to injury prevention, awareness and treatment. Considering these tidbits will get you well on your way to preventing any future injuries as well as treating any condition that currently ails you.
Most Common Daily Injuries
Amidst the bustling, non-stop, stressful schedule of the working class is the reality that most of us are over-worked, frazzled and tense. As humans, we often carry this tension in our muscle tissues. Perpetually tense muscles are a breeding ground for injury.
Even poor posture is a result of an immobile, weak spine and core. It’s a miracle that more of us do not encounter spinal injury, as so many individuals walk around with poor posture and perform tasks in a bad body position (i.e. picking things up, reaching, lifting, and torqueing).
This is part of the reason that chiropractors are a mainstay in modern physical therapy. Severe back injuries, disc herniation, and dislocated ribs are amongst some of the more significant injuries. Ankle sprains and knee strains are a close second. The majority of us have been guilty at some point of walking around on the phone, texting, replying to e-mails with our head down. This habit in itself clearly encourages injury, as we’re simply not watching where we’re going making tripping and missteps are imminent.
Doing your best to steer clear of injuries can be as simple as becoming more mindful and aware of your surroundings. Paying attention when you’re walking and staying as present as possible can go a long way in terms of injury prevention. Also, it’s helpful to gain a greater awareness of how you move.
Picking heavy things up off the ground with a rounded back is a common mistake, as well as twisting your upper body too quickly when standing up to get out of your car. You are especially susceptible to these tweaks when your body is going from sedentary to mobile in a short amount of time. This is related to the importance of warming up before exercise to prevent injuries.
The vast majority of everyday injuries can be prevented. Regularly engaging in stretching, mobility and yoga can help you make huge strides in staying healthy and injury-free. It’s important to find stretches and tools to mobilize your major joints like the spine, hips, shoulders and knees.
It may be worthwhile to invest in a yoga mat and foam roller to help make your stretching practice the most effective. Ideally, you should combine a mixture of dynamic warm ups, foam rolling and static stretching to make sure you’re taking care of every body part in its entirety.
Understanding the Physiology
Getting a firmer grasp on pain sensations and injury can help you to stay healthier on a consistent basis. Pain is essentially your body’s way of signaling that an imbalance is taking place. It’s similar to a street sign that reads “wrong way.” Your body is telling you to stop or to adjust how you are doing things, as what you did prior to the injury is not working.
Consider also that pain in any given area is not necessarily associated with that precise location on the body. For example, experiencing discomfort or tightness in your scapula area (shoulder blade) doesn’t always mean that muscle is injured. More commonly, it is tied to the nerves and muscles in the spine that are correlated to that area.
A similar concept can often be true for other injuries. Knee pain is often a result of tightness in the muscles surrounding the knee, versus it being a structural knee issue itself. This is known as referred or radiating pain. It’s helpful to work through mobility and flexibility sessions to see if the pain diminishes, before assuming it’s structural. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with troubleshooting itself, it’s always advisable to refer to your Doctor or Chiropractor for a professional consultation and advice.
If you’re already at the point where you’re in pain and struggling to manage the pain & inflammation, consider the RICE practice. This acronym stands for rest, ice, compress, elevate. The RICE method is an effective first step towards healing. Keep in mind to ice for only 20 minutes at a time, as this is the sweet spot to help reduce inflammation and stimulate blood flow to promote healing.
It’s important to flip the script with injuries and understand that you do not have to be a victim of a nagging injury. Realize that you have quite a bit of control and tools at your disposal for injury prevention and treatment. If you feel ill-prepared to take care of yourself, don’t hesitate to ask for help from your Doctor if you need it.
Simply look to make small strides today towards injury prevention, better mobility, more flexibility and more pain-free work day. Small, intentional habits will add up to big leaps over time and insure that you are not as injury-prone. Stay dedicated to the process and you will be sure to feel and witness the perks of staying healthy.
Helen Sanders is chief editor at HealthAmbition.com. Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.