Millions of people suffer from pain every day due to overexertion. Patients that have recently undergone surgery can also struggle to determine when they are ready to go back to physical activities, or when they need to rest. Rest and recovery are important to help your body heal correctly. The problem is most people do not realized when they should focus on rest and when it is time to start exercising once again.
Exercising after Surgery
If you are anxious to get back into a fitness routine after a surgery, it is important to consult with your physician and our expert team at Layton Physical Therapy. A post-surgical fitness and exercise routine is important to correct recovery, but failure to rest properly after the surgery can lead to additional problems.
Follow your doctor’s specific instructions which normally include, “no heavy lifting and no strenuous activities.” The most important thing you can do is meet with our physical therapy team to discuss the post-surgery workout plans. We will create a program that will help you push your body, but will not cause you to push your body too far leading to pain or additional problems.
Typically, the first few days will involve simple walking after the surgery. Patients who get back on their feet have faster recovery time and can get back to their day-to-day routine quickly. During the first week it is important to perform light stretching and to perform light muscle techniques to prevent strain and additional problems.
Avoid stretches that cause pain or tension to the surgical site as it can cause the stitches to tear, and can ruin the body’s natural healing process. Once you move past the first month, we will help you move into the second and third months of a fitness routine until you are capable of resuming your normal activities.
What is a Strain?
A strain is an injury, a stretching or a tearing of the muscular tenuous unit. The tendon and the muscle attached to it can be injured or torn, known as a strain. When it is dealing with a ligament, which attaches one bone to another crossing a joint, it is called a sprain. Strains are grades as one, two, and three. A grade-one strain damage is microscopic and considered a mild or minor strain, or pull of the muscle.
A grade-two injury is when the majority of people will seek medical attention. A grade-two injury shows some macroscopic tearing of the fibers. A grade-two injury normally produces some swelling and discoloration of the area. A grade-two injury can take six weeks or more to heal.
A grade-three injury is the most severe type of injury. Grade-three tears can take three to six months or longer to recover based on how long the area needed to be immobile.
What is Rest vs. Recovery?
How can you properly implement rest and recovery into your fitness plan? Most people assume rest refers to lying down and avoiding physical exercise. Most easily rest is defined as a combination of sleep and time spent not training. However, the way you spend this “down time” is critical to the healing process. Recovery refers to actions and techniques used to help your body start healing. Recovery involves nutrition, hydration, heat, ice, posture, stretching, compression, and stress management. Recovery encompasses more than muscle repair, it involves hormonal and chemical balance repair along with nervous system repair.
When you think of rest, think of it as taking a day off from exercise or exertion. Recovery is the restorative process that includes taking time off exercise, but means resting the body adequately. Recovery helps to bring the body back to normalcy.
Repairing the Body
We have multiple systems within the body that need to recover. These repairs include structural, hormonal, and neurological repairs. Muscles, tendons, bones, and ligaments all need correct repair. The muscles tend to recover quickly as they receive direct blood flow. The tendons, bones, and ligaments receive indirect blood flow, which takes longer to recover and can become more susceptible to overtraining stress.
At Layton Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine, we focus on helping patients find the correct balance of rest and recovery after an injury. The right balance of rest and recovery along with diet and exercise will aid in the healing process. When a patient follows the correct rest and recovery program, they will be happy and healthier and their muscles will heal appropriately.
How Can I Achieve the Proper Balance of Rest and Recovery?
Sleep is one of the most important elements of recovery. Proper levels of sleep will improve mental health, hormonal balance, and aids in muscular recovery. Adequate levels of sleep will improve mental health and aid in muscular recovery. It is recommended for adults to receive between seven to ten hours of sleep.
Hydration is the other important element for proper balance of rest and recovery. Drinking adequate amounts of water will improve performance and aids in the energy and recovery process. Water helps all the processes within the body function properly. Increasing your water intake can benefit skin tone, hair quality and reduces stress on the heart.
Correct nutrition will impact the healing process as well. Processed foods and alcohol contain toxins that can lead to problems with the healing process.
Posture is another thing you need to focus on as the body needs to be in the right position to heal correctly. Back or neck pain can become worse due to improper posture. Practice proper office ergonomics as it does reduce back and neck pain.
Stretching is another important element to improving your muscles. Static stretching is helpful after workouts while dynamic stretching is important for warm-ups. Identify areas where your body is tight and needs to loosen up.
Contact Layton Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine to discuss your post-surgical, strain or a sprain. We will help you get back on your feet again and start the healing process without causing you to end up in more pain, or back in the surgical center.