Are you sitting or standing on the bench due to an injury? For most athletes and health enthusiasts, recovering from an injury can be a workout in itself. For a serious athlete, being told that you have to reduce or halt activity altogether to let a bone or muscle heal is equivalent to torture. However, there are a few things you can do to help speed the healing process so you can heal like a pro and get back to your athletic activities as soon as possible.
Understanding The Difference In Pain Relief Options
When cells are damaged in a fracture, large amounts of prostaglandins are released. Prostaglandins are a group of lipids made at sites of tissue damage or infection that are involved in dealing with injury and illness. They control processes such as inflammation, blood flow, the formation of blood clots and the induction of labor. Although this is what causes you to feel the pain, the production of these lipids is also instrumental in the early stages of tissue repair.
Here is the catch. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed to alleviate pain and stop the action of prostaglandins, but the prostaglandins are quintessential to the healing process. The best suggestion would be to stop taking the NSAIDs as soon as possible after suffering a broken bone. Alternatively, you could take non-NSAID pain medication such as acetaminophen for pain relief, for it does not have the same effect on prostaglandins.
Another Reason To Stop Smoking/Vaping
It is scientifically proven that the broken bones of people who smoke take longer to heal. The smoke reduces blood flow, therefore, reduces the number of nutrients and oxygen traveling to the injury site. The chemicals released into the blood from smoking damages the cells that form bone. This process and significantly decrease healing time or prevent complete healing altogether.
Your New Besties – Calcium, Magnesium, & Vitamins D and K
These vitamins and minerals are all integral to healthy bone growth. We have all heard about how important calcium is in the diet, but if you take a lot of calcium without accompanying it with magnesium and vitamins D and K, much of that calcium will not be absorbed by your bones. Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, collard greens, and Swiss chard are among the best sources of not only calcium but magnesium and vitamin K as well. If you live in a sunny climate, you can get a good supply of vitamin D by sitting in the sun for 15-20 minutes a day with arms and legs exposed and using no sunblock. For those who live in less sun-drenched locations (and those of us waiting out the winter months), you can get vitamin D from fortified milk products, or you can take a vitamin D supplement.
Sideline the Coffee and Sodas
Caffeine and sugar both increase the excretion of calcium from the bones by 25-50 percent. So try to avoid the comfort foods!
Just become a Lean, Mean, Protein Consuming Machine!
For Your Health,
Dr. Scott Van Dam