Whenever we find ourselves recovering from an injury, we tend to focus on the physical components of the recovery process. We direct our efforts towards targeting impairments such as stretching or strengthening a specific tissue, using ice or other modalities, or resting altogether. These factors are critical for a successful rehab experience, but they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the total recovery picture. The tangible improvements we observe during healing, such as a cut scabbing over or a strained muscle feeling less painful or more flexible under load tend to be our go-to indicators that something is moving in the right direction and healing; but what are those behind the scenes factors that allow us to improve the quality and speed of the healing process?
Getting the recommended amount of sleep (7-9 hours per night) allows the body to recover appropriately.
During healing, the body requires more total calories, protein, and vitamins to repair tissues.
Increased cortisol levels in the body interrupts the inflammation process, resulting in slower healing.
4. Physical Activity Outside of Work
Even if someone is active at their job, the body responds more favorably to exercise outside of the work environment.
5. Avoiding Tobacco Products
Smoking tobacco products results in hypoxia (lack of oxygen) of the tissues, and oxygen is vital to healing.
6. Perception / Fear
A person’s understanding of their condition is important. Fear of movement due to a diagnosis can contribute to chronic pain, despite an otherwise good prognosis.
7. Pessimistic Personality
Attitude matters. Having a positive attitude contributes to better outcomes, while a poor attitude will result in the opposite.
Including home exercise compliance and in-clinic activity level, the time and effort you put into your recovery will help determine how fast you get better.
Despite our profession beginning with “Physical,” your recovery is much more than that. Addressing as many of these factors as possible will allow you to return to doing what you love as soon as possible. Taking care of your whole self is the key