While regular exercise is a critical element of a healthy, active lifestyle, it’s still possible to overdo it on occasion. Perhaps you didn’t warm up properly beforehand, or you lost your balance, or maybe you’ve just been doing too much of the same exercise. Whatever the case, you’ve managed to injure yourself. How can you rehab a back injury caused by exercise? Here are some steps to help.
Apply Ice Immediately
Apply an ice pack as soon as possible after the injury occurs to mitigate swelling and minimize pain and inflammation. The sooner you do, the more manageable the injury becomes. Do not apply heat in the initial aftermath as this can amplify your inflammation. Once the affected area has calmed from the initial injury, you can alternate between cold and warm compresses to manage the discomfort.
Take Anti-Inflammatory Medication
Some of the pain of your back injury is coming from inflammation at the site; this inflammation can usually be treated with over-the-counter medications like Ibuprofen. Your doctor may also prescribe muscle relaxers to alleviate seizing of muscles in the injured area; take these only as your doctor directs.
Get Moving Again as Soon as Possible
Your initial impulse will be to restrict motion at the affected area—and that’s definitely recommended at first. But resist the urge to stay in bed or on the couch all day. You’ll actually recover more quickly if you get moving again as soon as you’re able. Obviously be cautious with your injury, but your natural body movements will prevent stiffness and enable healing.
Gradually Begin Core Exercises and Stretches
Again, don’t overdo it, but gentle stretches and core-strengthening exercises will reinforce the muscle tissues surrounding the injury site, providing needed flexibility and support and promoting healing.
Ready to Get Back to the Gym?
As you resume your workout routine, you’ll want to be mindful of the injury as it continues to heal, but you’ll also want to take measures to protect yourself from the same injury recurring. To find this balance, do the following:
- Pay attention to form and technique. If your injury occurred to do improper form, begin creating muscle memories of correct form until they become second nature.
- Be sure to start doing the exercise or movement that first caused the injury. For example, if you injured your back by squatting with heavy weights, you will want to gradually get back into those movements by doing unweighted body squats. You may be hesitant at first, but doing so will strengthen and heal those muscles and reduce the risk of a repeat injury.
If you need additional medical treatment for an exercise-caused back injury, we are here to help. Call Polaris Spine and Neurosurgery Center at 404-256-2633 for an appointment.