It’s the day you’ve been waiting for: your physical therapist has told you that you’re cleared to work out once again. This journey is going to be hard, but before you know it you’ll be back on the field. In the meantime you have some hard work ahead. To make things a little easier, IMPACT Physical Therapy and the Chicago Recovery Room have put together a list of different accessories that will help you along the road to recovery. What’s better, most of these can be incorporated into your exercise routine once healthy.
Depending on how severe your injury is, the body is going to lose a percentage of its fitness level while in recovery. An easy way to counteract this is to find exercises that are safe for you to do without posing a risk to the injury. While this can easily be achieved by continuing forms of weight training, keeping your cardio levels at peak performance can prove a challenge. That’s where a quality heart rate monitor comes into play.
If you haven’t gotten one already, a heart rate monitor will provide a good indicator of how your body is responding to cardiovascular exertion. Remember, the American Heart Association recommends that you target an exercising heart rate of 50-85% of your resting heart rate. Depending on where you currently stand with your heart rate, you’ll want to be pushing your heart rate up to the 120-150 beats per minute range.
When you’re injured, it’s important to avoid overtraining. Overtraining will force the body to repair more areas than the one that’s currently injured, potentially delaying the healing process or worse, causing further injury.
Kinesiology taping applies a thin, elastic tape directly to the skin. When applied correctly, it supports a stable positioning of both the bones and muscles during activity. Athletic tape is perfect to use for both healthy and injured athletes. In terms of injury management, however, it is especially useful for chronic injuries such as shin splints, patella-femoral syndrome, and turf toe. Post-injury athletic tape is still encouraged.
If you do not feel comfortable with applying kinesiology tape, our therapists are well-versed in proper technique and will be happy to teach you. If you need more support than athletic tape can offer, consult a physical therapist about what they recommend for your specific injury.
Resistance bands are a therapist’s favorite accessory, and they’ll quickly become yours too. They’re adaptable to multiple fitness levels, meaning that it will be very easy to customize your workout while injured. They can also be used to supplement classic strength-training moves, such as everyone’s favorite push up or bicep curl. The same can be applied to stretching, a key for improving blood flow and hastening recovery. Best of all, they’re extremely transportable, compact, and affordable. You’ll be able to exercise with resistance bands anywhere you want.
If you’ve put the exercise regime on the shelf while injured, chances are you’re going to get a little sore when getting back into the routine or following your physical therapist’s instructions. Muscle rollers are perfect for self-myofascial release, or self-massage. Roll your muscles over the bar until you come across a point of pain or tightness. Focus pressure on that trigger point until the pain begins to fade. You’ll find that your recovery times after the workout are a lot more pleasant. Do not use a muscle roller on a badly injured muscle or ligament.
For those in need of expanded pain relief, ask your therapist about trigger point dry needling. Chicago Recovery Room also provides a bevy of superior soft tissue therapy services that will combat any chronic soft tissue dysfunctions.
There’s swelling, soreness, and stiffness in your future, my friend. Rather than spending a great deal of money on instant ice packs, electric heat pads, or topical menthol creams, buy a reusable hot/cold pack that also provides a strap for securing. It will last a lot longer and keep the cold or heat exactly where you need it, allowing continued therapy without being chained to the couch.
No one in the Chicago area is as committed to their patients as the therapists at IMPACT Physical Therapy and Chicago Recovery Room. Want us to show you? Sign up for an injury/wellness screening today and we’ll be happy to examine how our physical therapy services can benefit you the most.