I know lots of you use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen either on a regular or just occasional basis. Guess, what? You should stop!
These drugs prevent your body from repairing injuries effectively as well as cause damage to your stomach lining and affect your blood pressure.
Recent studies show that all exercise can cause slight intestinal injury but combining that with NSAIDs increases the damage considerably. And it does so with just one dose – not only with long term use.
They also increase gut lining damage meaning you’re drastically increasing your risk of autoimmune diseases and damaging your immune system function in the short and long term.
The studies showed that not only was all this damage occurring, but muscle damage was NOT CHANGED. Yep, the use of these drugs was not even doing what you think it is supposed to do and in fact was causing more muscle damage because pain from the injury was masked and the participants were pushing through injuries because of that.
So next time you decide to rub on some gel or pop a few pills, think twice.
You will be making your injury worse long term and causing all the other problems above as well. Doing so at any time is bad enough but using the drugs to get through a workout is a bad idea. If it is too sore to train, DO NOT mask the pain with drugs and train anyway.
Just stop using them. There are many other natural alternatives you could try:
PHYSICAL THERAPY – to try to actually repair or prevent the injury; acupunture, chiropractic, physio, cold laser, massage, cupping, bowen, the list goes on and all are available either in town or close by.
DELOADING – yep, good old rest. If you’re injured, this should be your first step!! You may still be able to attend your training sessions, but may be able to modify to rest the injured area. Talk to me about this. Do not keep training an injured joint or muscle.
CRYOTHERAPY – cold showers, ice, exposure to cold. Ice packs should be used more often directly following a training session. They can even be used as a preventative if your knees, ankles or other joints a starting to feel a bit achy etc.
VIBRATION PLATFORMS – this is something I’ve just started to research and I must say it looks very promising. Some injuries shouldn’t be treated with this method or at least they should be well on the way to healing before you try it. I’m actually going to buy one of those infomercial platforms and try this myself. Unless someone has one I can borrow or purchase 🙂
COMPRESSION – If an injury has occurred, RICE is the first method of treatment. We all know about the ice and rest, but for some reason always forget Compression and Elevation, 2 of the best ways to reduce excessive inflammation and swelling, therefore reducing pain and allowing faster recovery. While inflammation itself is actually helping with healing, excessive inflammation can go the other way. RICE is the best way to control this WITHOUT DRUGS
FOAM ROLLING/MASSAGE STICK/BALLS – self-massage is awesome. It’s quick and its free. I would love if we all foam rolled post training rather than stretching as stretching can actually make muscles tighter if damaged or ‘knotted up’. Unfortunately, it is not cost effective for me to supply 20 or 30 foam rollers, but if you are injured or really sore, please either pop into the gym when we stretch and use one of the foam rollers I do have, or bring your own and use it while we stretch. At the very least, all of us should spend around 10 minutes a few times per week on the roller (or using a massage stick or ball or similar) for injury prevention and improvement of results.
COLD LASER – mentioned in the first point but a seriously effective treatment for injuries and inflammation. Great for tendonitis, arthritis and acute or chronic pain. Graeme Hooper does cold laser therapy in Maryborough and is an excellent physical therapist. I do not get any kickbacks from recommending him, but do tell him I sent you.
FAR INFRARED – Information taken from this awesome post
Many cultures around the world have known that low body temperature can be the cause of many degenerative conditions. We now know that increasing the body’s temperature by just 1.8 degrees is enough to increase immune function by up to 40%, encourage the production of hormones and enzymes by 50%, and stimulate our metabolic rate by 12%.
However, since most people don’t regularly visit saunas, hot springs, or sweat lodges, it can be difficult to get the benefits of raising one’s body temperature properly.
Well, not anymore!
Far infrared saunas or mats are designed to raise body temperature in a non-invasive way so you can heal and regenerate the body whenever you like.
Far infrared is a form of electromagnetic radiation (light) with wavelengths between 3µm to 1,000 µm. All living things emit far infrared energy. If we were able to see it with the naked eye, everyone would be glowing like the photo below.
Sitting on a stone that has been warmed by the sun emits far infrared heat. The warmth we feel from the sun is far infrared light.
Safely raising the body’s temperature creates a false fever due to its deeply penetrating heat.
This “fever” stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies, white blood cells, and interferon which help the body protect itself from harmful microorganisms.
But that’s not all they do!
- Ease minor joint pain, and stiffness
- Improve sleep (if associated with pain relief)
- Increase tissue oxygen (due to increased circulation)
- Increase blood circulation
- Promote relaxation due to heat
- Promote restful sleep for those with occasional sleeplessness
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce stress and fatigue
- Relax the muscles
- Relieve minor muscle pain
- Support the immune system
- Temporarily relieve joint pain associated with arthritis
- Temporarily relieve minor muscle and joint pain and stiffness
- Temporarily relieve minor muscular back pain
- Temporarily relieve muscle spasms
- Temporarily relieve sprains and strains
On top of that, far infrared also speeds up recovery time. If you pair far infrared therapy with your workouts, you will be less likely to skip out on exercise due to post-workout muscle soreness. This helps you maintain physical activity by healing minor injuries.
Click the link above to read the rest of the article about far infrared. I’m putting an infrared sauna in at FitterFaster soon. Julie and Bree Noonan also have one in the salon called Detox Box
ELECTRICAL MUSCLE STIMULATION – You can buy EMS devices quite cheaply now and in fact, I have one that I’ve used on injuries for Lauren and Harry with great success. You can use these to help speed soft tissue recovery for injuries and also, to decrease general muscles soreness if it is really bad. (Great for Rookies in particular) They can also be used to slow down the strength loss if say you have injured your ankle and cannot work your legs. Daily use on your quads and hamstrings will help to slow the strength decrease till you can train again. This could be useful particularly if you have games coming up and want to decrease your time to get back to best fitness again once you’re are able to resume training again. Make sure you read the instructions for placement of the pads or you won’t get the benefits. For muscle soreness, you can use ice at the same time to increase recovery.
INVERSION – you know that contraptions you used to see around to hang upside down in. They’re great for lower body swelling and inflammation. Heavy or swollen legs and feet after a big training session (or just a big day on your feet) will feel awesome after just 5-10 mins in the upside down position. To get similar benefits, without the contraption, I recommend at the end of every day, lay on the floor with your feet up on a chair or the edge of the couch or bed for 5-10 mins. I do this regularly and I’m sure it helps with varicose and spider veins too.
SLEEP – if only people would take me seriously on this one. A minimum of 7 hours per night, preferably 8. Aim for 52 hours plus per week (perhaps including a few naps if needed) Sleep is so important that all of the rest of these ideas are pretty useless if sleep is inadequate.
GET DIRECT SUN EXPOSURE EVERY DAY – another big one. Just 10-20 minutes per day of unprotected sun exposure is all it takes. Longer in winter and less in summer. Adequate Vitamin D is essential to prevention and recovery of injuries. Supplements do not have the same effect
NUTRITION AND SUPPLEMENTATION – should have been first on the list really. Here are some basic guidelines that everyone can follow, injury or not
-Take fish oils. I’ve written about this heaps of times so won’t go into details. But get a good quality one that contains a minimum of 300mg of EPA and DHA combined. Take 6-10 per day
-Eat nutrient dense foods. I’ve also written about this heaps of times, but for examples: whole free-range eggs, grass-fed meats, free-range chicken, fruits and vegetables/salads (fresh or frozen), plain greek or natural yoghurt, keffir, kombucha, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, spices and herbs
-Get rid of inflammatory foods such as grains (including corn), dried fruits, honey, soft drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks, alcohol, sugar of any kind, seed oils and fats, vegetable oils and fats and pretty much all processed foods.
-Take digestive enzymes short term
-Take probiotics long term. This is the one I use: Proviotic Blend
-Drink lots of filtered water and limit tea and coffee (you don’t need to cut it out altogether, but do limit the amount you consume)
-Take a multi-mineral (can also have multi-vitamins too) I use an electrolyte powder in some of my water. This is the one I use: Electrolyte Blend
-Try glucosamine and chondroitin. I recommend a Bulk Nutrients supplement called Joint Support which many of my clients swear by. You can order it here. Joints Complex
-Supplement with magnesium and use Epsom salts in a bath or foot soak often. Topical magnesium is also excellent, in fact, better than taken orally. Look for oil spray or a lotion. here is an example: Magnesium Spray Use daily to help with injury recovery and also prevention. May also help if you cramp a lot. You can also take the Electrolyte Blend mentioned above as well to ensure adequate magnesium intake.
-Eat enough. If you’re one of those people who skip meals all the time and say they’re too busy to eat properly, expect injuries and bad health to catch up with you. You are NOT ‘being good’ when you eat barely anything. You are in actual fact starving your body of vital nutrients (likewise if you eat crap food all the time) and you will suffer the consequences even if you haven’t noticed it yet.
-Get adequate Vitamin C. If you’re eating a large variety of fresh vegetables and salads, you probably have this covered in your daily diet. If however you are injured, you could try a Vitamin C supplement short term. Vitamin C helps limit free radical damage and also boosts the growth of cells that produce cartilage and connective tissues. Try to find a whole-food Vitamin C supplement rather than a synthetic one. Here’s a good one to try; whole food Vitamin C supplement
There are lots of other ways to improve your recovery and you won’t possibly do all of the above all the time.
If you practice eating whole foods, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated with water and taking basic supplements like fish oils, probiotics and an electrolyte supplement if you train and sweat a lot, you’ll have most bases covered. Then make sure you warm up properly before training and take time to foam roll and stretch afterward, you’ll have the best chance of not getting injured in the first place. All of these are my minimum.
If an injury does occur, test the other options on yourself fitting what works best for you into your daily routine. I practice most of the above on a semi-regular basis even though I do not have any injuries. Maybe that’s why??
At FitterFaster we vary every clients program weekly. Mixing between cardio and resistance based sets within workouts and a 4 week cycle of changes to programming from high reps to lower means we target different muscle and body systems as well as all muscle fibres. Rounding our programs like this with a focus on core strength and stability minimises the possibility of injury both at training and in their every-day lives.
If you have any questions at all about any of the above, please message me firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on Facebook any time. I’m only too happy to help no matter where or how you’re keeping fit. If however, you’re not currently engaging in any fitness activity or are not sure how to prevent injury while getting fit, I can certainly show you through my extensive trial programs.
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If you wish to order an of the supplements above that are from Bulk Nutrients, go ahead. I don’t earn anything from them, so no, they’re not affiliate links. I supply those from Bulk Nutrients to my clients at cost price to save them postage. But am not interested in earning $$ from them.