When most people get an injury, their healthcare provider is often swift to tell them what exercises they should be doing to get better and speed up their recovery. What is not commonly discussed are what they shouldn’t do often or at all. Unfortunately in some ways this matters more than what you actually do!
Every piece of damage that is done to our tissues results in a healing response; a scar. Just like any scar or scab on the skin, the more it is disrupted by activities that “pick at the scab” the longer it takes to heal.
Worse still if it goes on for too long, the less chance there is of a complete recovery. Doing the right exercises but neglecting to look after your injury for the remaining 20+ hours in each day is what picks at your injury scab.
How do you know what to avoid doing?
The easiest way is to listen to your body as it uses pain as a warning signal. Any activities that cause the body the same type of pain as that of the injury should be avoided where possible or limited. Failing to listen to these warning signs will extend your recovery time and prolong the experience of pain.
This is especially the case with activities that are done for long periods of time or repeated frequently.
Some of the common culprits that we often identify include:
- Sleeping posture
- Sitting with one leg crossed over the other
- Household chores such as vacuuming, ironing and cutting vegetables
If you do find that any of these or other activities aggravate your pain, try modifying the way that you do them slightly. Try bending the hips more, straightening your spine, lifting your head or lowering your shoulders. If you do find that one of these changes get rid of the pain associated with the activity, then make sure that you use this strategy the next time you have to move the same way.