by Eoin Roe, Chiropractic
What a strange time we are living in. I feel very blessed to be living in West Cork and am able to go for long walks in the countryside, as I usually do. As many practitioners who work in close contact with people, I have had to close down my chiropractic practice and I dare say that is the same for many other physiotherapists and allied healthcare professionals.
So with all these closures, if you do have a joint or muscle problem, it is going to be difficult to see someone. With that in mind I thought I would write an article this week about how to make sure that you stay injury-free.
This is especially important in this time when we want our immune systems to be in as good a shape as possible. The reason for that is that pain is a significant stressor on the body and will cause the release of cortisol, which has the effect of down regulating your immune system.
One of the best ways to reduce your injury risk is to reduce the intensity of your workouts. This does not mean to stop what you are doing but to do them at 75 per cent effort. Many who are used to working out more intensely may feel that this is a cop out but you may actually find that it will help you to loose weight easier and feel healthier.
Secondly, do not exercise through pain. Pain is your body’s way to tell you something is not quite right. For example, if you are out running and your knee starts to hurt you need to pay attention to it. Try and change something about the way you are running, shorten your stride, bend your knee more, notice where you are landing on your foot. If you notice you are landing on your heel first, shorten your stride.
If by making these changes the knee becomes more comfortable then carry on, if it does not reduce the pain then stop. You should adopt this approach to all exercise whether that is running, yoga, swimming or even walking
For those of you who are thinking that with the extra time you have you are going to start exercise, I would encourage you to start slowly. One of the best forms of exercise for everyone is walking. You should try and build up to one hour per day. If you are just starting out 20 minutes per day is good and gradually build up to one hour over many weeks.
Thirdly, if you do injury yourself remember RICE:
Rest – Most people forget to do this, but it is actually the most important. A minor muscle strain may only need a few days and then cautiously return to exercise. A serious muscle tear may take many weeks to heal to a point where normal exercise can be started again
Ice – Use frozen peas – best is 10 minutes in every hour – for example if you put the peas on at 6pm take them off at 6.10pm and do not put them back on until 7pm – if you can repeat this cycle three to four times it can have a significant effect on inflammation.
Compression – for something like a knee or ankle injury this is simple, for the low back or shoulder is a little harder
For a knee or ankle injury support the joint by compressing it gently with a bandage, if it is lower back pain you can use a long scarf to support the muscles.
Elevation – really only refers to lower limb injuries, by elevating them you can help blood flow back to the body from the legs.
The RICE protocol can be used for any musculoskeletal injury whether that is your ankle, knee, Low Back or a muscle tear say in you hamstrings.
Hopefully these ideas can help you to keep active and looking after yourself and family if you need any further advice please give me a call on 087 9582362 and I will do the best I can to help you.