How I Got Healthy Enough to Start Working Out Again after a Back Injury
by Jason Michael
If you have ever been injured, you understand how intimidating it can be to start working out and playing sports again. A few months ago, I moved the wrong way and ended up seriously injuring my back. I never thought a simple twisting movement could result in such excruciating pain. For two weeks, I laid on my couch mostly unable to move. In this time, I realized I needed to fight my way back to health and determine a plan for getting better.
My first step was visiting my chiropractor. He assessed my injury, took a series of Xrays, and did a gentle treatment. At home, I rested as much as possible and applied ice on a regular basis in order to decrease inflammation. I saw my chiropractor an additional four times during my healing process.
Although I was mostly confined to the couch, I was still in control of what I ate. I focused on consuming a nutrient-dense diet rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that would help my body recover. I based my diet on anti-inflammatory foods such as vegetables, fruits, high-quality sources of protein (wild-caught salmon, sardines, eggs, chicken, and grass-fed beef), nuts, and seeds. I was careful to avoid any processed ingredients, hydrogenated oils, and sugar as these foods all promote inflammation.
Once the chiropractic treatments and ice started to improve my level of pain, I gradually began working out again with non-impact exercises. To begin, I aimed to walk 2 to 3 miles a day. After a week, I increased my walks to 4 to 5 miles a day. I also began practicing gentle yoga that helped to stretch and strengthen my muscles at the same time without any jarring impact on my body.
Once I mastered walking and yoga, I began to implement more back pain relieving exercises into my routine. I started doing squats, pushups, and pullups to increase my lean muscle mass. I also went to a pool to practice water aerobics on a regular basis.
Within a few weeks, I had fully recovered and was able to resume my regular workouts and begin playing sports again. I experienced such excellent results from my anti-inflammatory diet that I decided to continue eating that way.
Overall, if you experienced an injury or an illness that decreased your health and took you away from working out and playing sports, remember it is possible to be strong again. With the right knowledge, a positive attitude, and a commitment to take care of yourself, you can regain your strength and enjoy a healthy, active life again. Consider talking to your doctor, a physical therapist, or your chiropractor about how to move forward and resume your regular activities.
This first appeared in The Havok Journal March 24, 2019.
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