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Post-Injury Home Recovery Steps to Take

relaxing inside in a hammock with a dog

Because our daily activities require us to be mobile and quick on our feet, it's almost inevitable to acquire injuries within our lifetime. In fact, the National Safety Council reported that the United States saw 55.4 million injuries in 2020 alone. Though these injuries vary in severity and healing time, some of them, like cuts, abrasions, sprains, and muscle strain, can be treated through proper rest, treatment, and guidance. Though most minor injuries can be treated equally well at home as in the hospital, it can still be overwhelming to navigate on your own. We’ve listed down some of the ways to help you recover from an injury at home:

Give yourself time to rest

The first thing you have to remember when treating an injury is that overexertion can only worsen your condition. This is why rest is critical in the first few days. Resting can alleviate muscle pain and soreness, repair and build muscles, and replenish the body’s energy stores.

If you’re in the habit of exercising regularly, you may worry about the lack of fitness that short-term resting entails. However, the study How Does Sleep Help Recovery from Exercise-Induced Muscle Injuries? explains how rest and sleep help different phases of muscle repair, such as inflammation and regeneration. These are essential in recovering from several injuries, such as sprains and muscle fatigue. Ultimately, skipping sleep and overusing an injured body part can lead to a much greater threat such as long-term pain, and setting aside time to rest can have a positive impact on your recovery in the long run.

Consult a doctor

No matter how well you treat it at home, some injuries can have prolonged periods of discomfort or pain. In this case, it can be inconvenient to go to the hospital when your body is in a weakened state. Fortunately, we’ve seen a rise in telehealth use in recent years that won’t require you to go out from the comfort of your own home.

In fact, several states have adopted infrastructure to support telehealth. Remote physicians in Colorado are trained to provide primary care services, as well as specialist treatment areas like post-injury care. And since the standard of patient care is the same as for in-person care, you’re provided with the best resources from remote patient monitoring to virtual diagnosis and treatment. Meanwhile, New York doctors in telehealth companies employ a range of specialists for adult, pediatric, and adolescent patients that ensure access to telehealth video visits, medication and supplies prescriptions, work release letters, and referrals. Some have even developed patient portals improving access to medical post-injury care.

Consider booking a telehealth video visit to get a virtual diagnosis if you have a hunch that your injury may require more serious treatments or even surgery.

For example, with an elbow injury, most nonoperative treatments can be done at home, such as resting, icing, and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In case stretching your elbow still hurts after the healing window, arrange an online consultation with your doctor to bring this concern up.

Physical therapy on hand

Get moving

Depending on how well you’ve treated your injury during the first few days, it might be best to introduce light physical activity to aid in your healing. Maintaining mobility can aid in preventing stiffness and ensuring a return to the normal range of motion.

Do note that while light physical activity can ease your body into recovery, initial management consists of a short rest period. This is to ensure that increasing activity does not exacerbate any pain or symptoms. Our article ‘Recovery Isn’t Just for Athletes’ explains you can also use percussive therapy to improve mobility, as a good massage can promote increased blood flow.

Stay consistent with your recovery plan

An injury’s impact and recovery timeline differ from case to case. However, one thing that encompasses all types of injuries is the discipline to stick to your recovery plan. This is to ensure that your body heals back to full strength.

For example, with sprains, healing can take weeks or months. During this period, you might be advised to gently use your injured area to gauge if your joint can support your weight without pain.

However, to see a progressive improvement would mean allotting time for daily rest and familiarizing your body with light movements. Note that consistency in looking after yourself post-injury will help you maximize the stability and strength of the injured joint, and can prevent surgery from a torn ligament as well.

Treating your injury at home shouldn’t be a daunting task. Your recovery period should be a time where you can focus on healing, and with less stress.

This article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended for use as medical or health advice. For any and all health concerns or conditions, please talk to your doctor.

Written by Adelynn Grace McNeill
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