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Injuries Are Part Of The Game

Injuries Are Part Of The Game

If you live long enough -  and are even quasi-active - you’re going to get injured at some point in your life. So, the question isn’t about stopping the inevitable from happening - it’s about figuring the best way to mitigate the down time while doing the best to speed up the healing process. Let’s get into this…

Getting injured sucks.

Now, I’m not talking about getting “hurt” - I’m talking about getting injured. The difference, for those that don’t know, is that when you’re hurt you can still function normally - just with a cloud of pain floating above you. When you’re injured - not only is pain a constant companion - but you're definitely diminished physically. 

How do I know this without being a doctor? 

Well, being both an athlete and a performer for almost my entire life - I’ve had my fair share of pain… and injuries. I’ve definitely been hurt - deep bruises, torn muscles, tweaked tendons - you know, the usual. However, I’ve also been injured: torn LCL, ruptured discs and my latest addition to the injury farm: a torn rotator cuff. 

No, I didn’t do this lifting - I did it training my other sport of choice - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. At 50 training with kids half my age - that’s going to happen. I know this - and I expect it. What I didn’t expect is how long this injury would take to heal. Usually, two months - maybe three tops - but this one happened in early January and I’m still dealing with it. 

When it first happened - I took about a month off of jiu jitsu and about a week for lifting. I wanted to get back right away and start rehabbing it. Get blood to the area to promote healing with the old healing adage “motion is lotion” as a mantra. However, while I’ve regained a lot of my strength - I’m still in a lot of pain - and my shoulder gets “stuck”, as well as making a LOT of noises it didn’t use to. 

I was supposed to get an MRI - but didn’t. And… there was no way I’m going to get surgery. Once you get cut - there’s no going back. So, I did what every other idiot Gen X-aged male does - I ignored it and tried to get through my workouts and training sessions any way I could. 

Let me just tell you - that was a poor decision…

What I chose to do has done nothing to heal me or truly strengthen my injury. It wasn’t until I finally talked to a doctor/therapist that I finally figured out how to truly being the healing process. Now, since a lot of the people that read these things fall in the category of “stubborn” (be it male or female) - I figured I would share what I’ve learned in order to help others move forward in their process as well. 

So, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to get over injuries faster - and some of them will most likely contradict what you’ve believed for years. 

Rest Up

This seems like it should be common sense - but if you’re anything like me - rest equals DEATH. I hate resting. In fact, I think I hate resting more than I hate getting injured. As soon as I get injured - I get angry because I know I’m going to be forced to rest. 

When it comes to rest - I tend to lean towards the attitude that Conan the Barbarian has towards rest: “Enough time to rest in the grave.”

However, when you’re injured and can’t walk or can’t put a shirt on - it may be best to rest and let your body do what it’s designed to do during rest: divert resources to the injured area. Seriously, that’s why we need to rest after an injury - we rest so our precious resources go to where they’re needed most. When you ignore rest - you’re drawing out the healing process…

So, for Pete’s sake - take a load off. 


I’m going to preface this section with a warning! I am not a doctor and we are not giving you medical advice! The information in this section comes from an actual doctor though. 

When in doubt - you may want to douse your injury with anti-inflammatories. 

No, seriously - if you’re in pain, odds are, it’s due to inflammation - according to an orthopedic surgeon: “If you’re in pain - your body can handle 800mg of ibuprofen 3 times a day for a week - or 2 times a day for a month. It’ll help you get through the worst of it.” 

Now, some of us may be sensitive to these medications - but if you're injured - it’s best to check with your doctor to see if there’s a way to get through the worst of the pain. When I first injured my shoulder - I took ibuprofen twice a day - but didn’t want to stay on too long, so got off and dealt with the low-level pain through gritting my teeth. 

Ice or Heat? 

What have we all been told when injured? 

“Get some ice on it so it doesn’t swell!” 

After talking to a few therapists - it seems that the accepted practice these days is the opposite: heat. Ice will help with swelling - that’s true… but the reason injuries swell is because blood is rushing to the area to promote healing. The blood brings white blood cells - which is how we heal. 

Ice restricts the blood vessels and therefore restricts the flow of blood to the area - delaying the healing process. Heat, however, helps to open the blood vessels and bring even more blood to the area. More blood = quicker healing. So, if you can deal with some restricted movement for a few days - it may be best to avoid ice and lean more on something hot. 

PRP: Liquid Gold

If you’re trying to avoid surgery but want to kick the healing process into high gear - then you may want to look into PRP. 

PRP therapy or “Platelet Rich Plasma” is a therapy that uses your own blood - spun in a centrifuge to separate the plasma (or as the doctor’s call it, “liquid gold”) from the red blood cells and injected back into the injured area. It’s been reported to cut the healing time in half. I actually had this done recently - and while it’s only been a few weeks - I can already feel an improvement. For somebody that’s trying to avoid surgery like me - this could be exactly what you’re looking for. 

Nutrition and Supplementation

What people rarely talk about is the fact that once you’re injured - you need the best fuel in your body to start the repairing process. 

Protein is essential to healing torn muscles, tendons and ligaments. We need to help our body’s build more raw material - and feeding it what it needs to do that - is as vital as rest. 

Just as vital - making sure your immune system is in tip-top shape! One way to do that is by supplementing with L-Glutamine. L-Glutamine does help with recovery, yes - but one of the biggest benefits of this amino acid is its ability to keep your gut biome protected. Believe it or not - your health begins and ends with the health of your gut - and supplementing just 5-10grams per day will do you right. 

There you have it…

Now, notice we didn’t talk about surgery? Surgery may be the solution for some - but there are many who feel that some doctors are too hasty to cut. If you’re injured - try some rehab first. If that doesn’t work… 

Try some PRP. If that doesn’t work - there’s another step that we didn’t discuss: stem cell therapy. However, since I didn’t speak to a doctor about that - we’ll stick to what was discussed. 

If you exhaust all options and still get no relief - then you may want to consider surgery…

It’s a process of elimination. 

So, next time you get injured - you’ve got sort of a guide to help you get back on the good foot. 

And yes…

That pun was intended. 

“True teaching cannot be learned from text-books any more than a surgeon can acquire his skill by reading about surgery.” - Helen Keller

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