This is the last part of my sports injuries series – 15 Tips for Training with injuries!
Training with scoliosis and hip dysplasia my entire life, researching myself and learning everything about the human body in med school has taught me how to address my condition and alter my training to use Fitness as Medicine.
These are my tips and can be applied to any sports injury – whether you are dealing with arthritis, inflammation of the joint, a herniated disc, sciatica – these basic tips will help you out!
Disclaimer: Starting this post, I thought of talking about my experience with battling scoliosis and give tips on how to work around it. However, my tips can be applied to any sports injury and diseases hindering you to move your body in every direction.
I am a medical professional, but I am not your doctor. These tips are not intended to diagnose or treat you, these are simply tips you can try based on my scientific research, medical knowledge and, most importantly, my own experience.
15 Tips for Training with Injuries – Part 3
11. Take rest seriously
Rest is crucial when it comes to training with sports injuries or scoliosis.
Your muscles only grow when you rest, not when you train.
The exercises you are doing are meant to slightly break down the muscles, so that they can be rebuilt stronger, bigger and protect your joints.
There is no perfect amount of rest days. I recommend to take them whenever you feel like it. However, your injury should not be an excuse to take rest days. Rest your body when you feel weak, have joint pain, have problems activating your muscles properly. If you just don’t “feel” like working out, push through it and work on your goals!
On rest days, you can either rest completely or still stay active. Which version you choose depends in your injury and how much you can do without pain.
12. Be active
Apart form your training days, it is crucial to stay active. Moving your body will increase blood flow to your muscles and thus speed up recovery. Your muscles and joints need extra nourishment to repair and the only way to get those nutrients to the right place is by moving.
With that being said – don’t overdo it. Assess what causes pain and avoid that type of movement.
When I had hip bursitis, walking was extremely painful. However, I was able to use my indoor bike and cycle in a moderate pace. Thus, I started cycling frequently throughout the week and it helped me speed up the recovery.
Another great way to stay active and flexible is with yoga. Some poses might cause you discomfort, so again, using the principle of “biofeedback”, choose whatever fits your situation.
13. Be aware of your posture
You should not only strengthen and work your muscles during training. Especially with scoliosis and injuries due to muscle imbalances, it is important to work on your every day posture. It is not sufficient to use proper form 1 hour a day and than let it go the other 23 hours. Most of the time, people sit in a crooked way at their desk. Assess your sitting and standing posture and find out which muscles are tight and weak and then address those during your training.
This is easier said than done, so contact a professional to help you with that!
14. Nutrition is key
Recovery takes time and your muscles and joints need to be nourished right to heal faster. This applies to scoliosis as well. Most people try to eat fewer calories, as they train less frequently and with lower intensity. As long as you eat the right foods, you can and you should eat at around maintenance calories or even in a slight surplus. Don’t worry, your body thinks it is going to die, so the extra food will not be stored as fat but used to repair your body!
It is not only important how much you eat, but the kinds of food you consume is even more important. A balanced intake of protein, carbohydrates and fats is crucial. Apart from that, there are supplements specifically made to improve your joints and muscles function. Some of them are useful, some of them not.
I recommend the following:
15. Staying positive and forgetting the pain
Last but not least, having the right mindset is probably is hardest but most important part of overcoming an injury and battling scoliosis. As I already mentioned, most injuries take months to heal properly.
If you have scoliosis, you will have to fight it your entire life.
When I stop working out, my pain comes back.
The first days of an injury are the worst. You cannot move properly, you wish there was a shot or a pill to stop it all, so you can continue working hard for your goals. Unfortunately, it does not work that way. You have to accept the fact you are injured. You cannot try to push through and hope for the best.
Always be positive along the way, even if it is scoliosis you are dealing with.
Will your injury kill you? Probably not. You could have gotten cancer or a serious disease.
Nowadays, I am glad I have scoliosis because it helped me to acquire knowledge to be able to help out others. It showed be my passion for medicine and healing people.
Think of what it will be like when you are pain-free. You will be able to train like you did before. However this time you will be smarter and work hard but without injuring yourself again. You will not have lost anything along the process but gained so much knowledge about yourself. What are a couple of months compared to dealing with a serious disease your entire life?
Take this extra time to focus on your body, learning to use “biofeedback” and fitness and food as your medicine. Live this lifestyle and see how it can actually improve your life.
Fitness and eating well is more than just looking good. It truly is the best therapy.
I hope you found this series helpful. If you need help with your nutrition and training, check out my coaching packages!
If you have questions or liked this article, please comment below and share this on social media. I am sure others could benefit too.