Injured? Learn the best and fastest method for healing and recovery.
Injury.... I don't like that word. It's a scary word. It's a painful word. The really awful part of an injury isn't even the physical pain right then and there. It is contemplating the consequences of future limitations.
What won't I be able to do? How long before I can do what I used to do? Especially as an athlete, horrors of not being able to showcase performance are absolutely terrifying or at the very least wholly depressing.
But what is even worse, is when an injury is not treated in the correct way. Sadly the methods we use to treat many injuries are in the Ice Ages. Literally.
Before I go into all this I’d like to offer this disclaimer. I'm not a doctor. I am a Coach. Always contact your medical practitioner before trying any protocol. No matter what it is.
Because I am a Coach my field of expertise is from health to performance. Not disease to health. So myself and fellow coaches look at things from a different lens.
Blood & Ice
Now, let’s go back to injury. You sprained your ankle. You jammed your finger. Tweaked your shoulder. Bruised your elbow… etc. What does everybody tell you to do? You don't have to be a doctor. Let me guess.
“Put ice on it”. or...
R.I.C.E. - Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.
You might say, “Sure that makes sense.” Ice will stop the swelling and inflammation and it will numb the pain. Sounds like a plan….
Ok Time out…
Remember I'm a coach so let's look at things differently. Instead of looking at the path of injury to health let's look at things from a performance standpoint.
What heals? What feeds and nourishes the body? What feeds the muscles?
BLOOD! Life and performance are in the blood.
Now let's really think about that all too familiar protocol.
What does Rest or lack of movement do to the blood? Slow it down.
What does Ice do to Blood? It slows it down.
What does Compression do to the blood? It slows it down. (you may have to think about this one. You may picture a hose. If you constrict the hose you may get more PRESSURE, that's true, but you will get less VOLUME.)
What does Elevating an injured limb above the heart do to blood? It slows it down.
Do you get what we are saying here? If blood heals, Why are we stopping it! Simply put, the Ice Age old injury protocol simply doesn't make logical sense. It goes against the natural laws of simple human biology.
In fact all those things actually create more damage because now less blood is getting to not just the injured section of tissue, but the whole area! Does the whole foot and leg need to be punished because you sprained your ankle?!
But what about swelling and inflammation? Don't we want to limit that? Aren't those things bad?
Well no they aren't. Inflammation is the first step to healing. Let me repeat that. Inflammation is the first step to healing. That means if you take it away you won't heal as fast.
Here is what happens when your body gets injured. It knows that because there was damage there will be a need to make repairs.
Ever notice that an injured area is a bit warmer? The body raises the tissue temperature to facilitate just the right amount of increased blood flow. Your body reacts by sending extra blood, flood and nutrients to the damaged area. There again we see that ice or cold restricts blood flow whereas a little bit of heat increases blood flow.
Next comes swelling and inflammation. The body has sent extra supplies to the area because of all the repair work that will need to be done. All that extra material is now trapped in the area and repair work begins. The problem with inflammation is not that it happens. It is if it PERSISTS.
STAYING inflamed is the problem.
Again let's pause for review.
So far we have established that blood is the key. Blood heals. Ice and the R.I.C.E. protocol actually interferes with the body’s natural healing mechanism.
So what does help heal an injury? MOVEMENT
Yes, movement heals. Specifically muscle contraction.
Let's flesh that out. Movement increases blood flow but there is a deeper reason. What is the pump for blood? Well, it’s the heart right? Cardio stands for Cardiovascular. Using the heart in pumping blood through the veins and thus carrying oxygen and nutrients to all the parts of the body.
The Lymphatic System
But there is another system that is closely related to the cardiovascular system that doesn't get as much recognition as it should. The Lymphatic System. Ever hear of Lymph Nodes? Ever get an infection and you get certain areas in your body like under your armpit, or near your neck swollen? Those are lymph nodes. They are like prison cells that trap harmful substances and then let the immune system deal with the trespassing criminals.
Just like the heart and cardiovascular system pump blood and oxygen around the body, the Lymphatic System pumps waste products out of the body.
The Cardio system brings home the groceries. The Lymph System takes out the trash.
But here is a question: What is the pump for the lymphatic system? Muscles. Specifically muscle contraction.
Is it starting to come together?
See when we move and contract our muscles then we not only pump nourishing blood around our body, we also pump unhealthy waste away. It's a brilliantly designed system!
So back to having an injury. Inflammation causes blood and fluid to come to the injured area so that repairs can happen. But once tissue repair takes place there is always waste. Thats why STAYING inflamed is bad. But you don't get rid of inflammation and swelling by using ice or slowing blood flow. Instead you use movement. Muscle contraction.
Movement will start pumping the waste or getting rid of the trash. Movement will do a much better and a faster job than R.I.C.E.
Some of the most sage advice for dealing with an injury is “Walk it off.”
So how do you practically apply this information to an injury? Especially when you have an injury that makes you imoble, like breaking a leg and being in a cast?
If the injury allows you to keep moving. Keep contracting the muscles around the injury.
If you are not able to move, then wiggle. Yes sounds silly but yes wiggle. If your leg is in a cast, wiggle your toes. As much and as often as you can. Even that slight movement will immensely help the healing process. Some have even found that they cut their healing time in half!
Here is a sample healing protocol.
Lets use the example of a broken leg in a cast. Your laying around all day with noting to do.
3-5 times a day do a minimum of 3-5 sets of 50 - 100 toe wiggle reps.
Injury Healing Tool
Thats the cheap option. It works. But the BEST way thanks to technology is to use an (Electronic muscle stimulation (EMS) device. The beauty of these devices is that they can not only help you heal from an injury, but even recover from a strenuous workout faster and more efficiently. Afterall in principle a workout is a small short term injury that forces your body to adapt and heal to become even better.
In all our vast research in the health and fitness modalities, the best recovery tool that we found is an EMS Device called the Marc Pro. Marc Pro is a cutting-edge electronic muscle stimulation device that helps muscles recover faster, allowing professional and everyday athletes to perform and feel their best. This patented technology takes active recovery to the next level with non-fatiguing muscle activation And helps recover from injury faster. Use Code "DHS" to receive an exclusive 10% OFF all Marc Pro products.
The Marc Pro has different settings and in as little as 20 min session you can get great results. Simply stick the adhesive pads on the muscles and limbs around the affected area using the instructions provided and there you go. Netflix and Heal.
I can’t list all the possible injuries you could possibly have. But I can give you the principles to deal and heal.
Get blood in the area. Move, contract muscles to pump waste out. Bring in the groceries. Take out the trash.
And please don't use Ice Age protocols for modern day injuries. There is no chill. Instead of R.I.C.E. - Netflix & Heal.
Stay safe. Heal Quickly.
Special thanks to Gary Reinl for his time with me personally and years of industry leading research. You can find out more at https://garyreinl.com. You can pick up his book HERE