The primary goal of Body Fix Therapies is to help people prevent and relieve pain. As orthopedic massage therapists here in Sacramento, our clients often ask us how they can best cure injuries to their muscles. And while massage, physical therapy, behavioral modifications and medications all play their role, the most important factor in a treatment plan is rest! Plenty of rest for the soft tissue involved in the injury is one of the most important aspects of any therapeutic process.
Rest Includes Sleep
We realize that many people have issues with insomnia or getting to sleep. Bad habits, however, often play a major role in stealing sleep when we need to rest. Catching up on our reading, addiction to electronic devices, the drive to watch movies and television, or simply to get out and entertain ourselves, all can rob us of time better spent sleeping for the sake of our health. So if you’re dealing with pain, first consider whether you are allowing enough time for sleep.
Next, pay attention to your sleep cycles. Enjoying a complete sleep cycle contributes much to the healing processes of the body. About 90 minutes is required for your body to go through all the various phases of sleep. So if you are the kind of person who goes to sleep the moment your head hits the pillow, plan to sleep in increments of 90 minutes — such as six, seven and a half, or nine hours. If you don’t need to set the alarm clock, then of course let your body determine when to wake you. But if your wake up time is important during your rehabilitation, then plan your sleeping periods accordingly and you’ll see tremendous benefits to your recovery time and general energy levels when you awaken.
Also, keep in mind that if you wake up often throughout the night then it will interrupt any healing you do so it’s not the cumulative number of hours it’s the sequential amount of time.
Rest Means Reduced Use
Many aches that clients suffer are a result of “repetitive use injuries.” While sufficient sleep certainly helps, reduced use, and in some cases complete immobilization of the body part is the only way to satisfactorily heal this type of damage. Especially in the case of traumatic injuries, caused by sports or accidents, the body part needs to be stabilized with braces and used as little as possible. In large part, this is to keep from reinjuring the body part by trying to use it!
Starting to use the affected muscles before they are completely healed, or using them too much, also heightens the risk of reinjury. Although the pain may have gone away, that doesn’t mean that the muscle is no longer weakened. So work with your therapist or physician to determine when it is safe for you to gradually return to using the muscles in question.
That also means that physical therapy should not be started right away, but should be introduced gradually. A skilled therapist will want the full details on the cause of your injury, either through discussion with you or your medical professional. Only with that information is it possible to plan a program that will bring you back to full use of the painful musculature.
Remember: Be patient! The more careful you are with your recovery process the faster and more complete your recovery will be!
Our Master Therapist at Body Fix Therapies can help to guide you through the necessary steps for promoting healing of your painful muscles. If you have experienced a recent traumatic injury, or are dealing with a repetitive use problem, feel free to consult with us in person or over the phone to ensure that your massage therapy and personal habits are directed towards obtaining health and wellness as soon as possible. Any success in this area will be in large part because you have made sure to give your body and the injury site enough rest!