How to Recover From a Back Injury

Remember when you were a child and could twist and turn and reach and pull and lift without giving it a second thought? Well, if you’re like most of us, then those days are long gone, and every twist and reach seems to result in a tweak or strain of the back. While some back injuries happen as the result of an accident or a sudden jolt, many of them come from everyday activities such as gardening or unloading the dishwasher. Sprains and strains, herniated discs, and fractured vertebrae are common back injuries that cause pain and limit your mobility. If you’ve suffered a back injury, or have recently had back surgery, here a few things you can do to help yourself recover: 

Take it easy

Sleep and rest are crucial when it comes to healing any type of injury.  Sleep slows your breathing, drops your blood pressure, and relaxes your muscles, allowing the blood flow to repair tissues and accelerate the healing process. Limiting your activities while you recover also decreases your risk of reinjury. If the lower activity level makes it more difficult to sleep, it may be a good idea to cut back on caffeine and other stimulants.  

Eat nutritiously

The food you eat can have a significant impact on your recovery from a back injury. Feeding your body high-quality nutrients will help promote its healing process. Foods rich in protein, vitamins A and C, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids will go a long way toward helping to reduce inflammation, repair injured tissue, and fight off infection. A nutritious diet can even help decrease your pain. 

man recovering froma back injury

Seek alternative therapies for pain management

Speaking of pain…there is often a good deal of pain involved with a back injury. And though it may be tempting to medicate yourself with narcotics and muscle relaxants, if you’re not careful, these strong medications can lead to addiction and depression. Not only that, but they may also create additional side effects such as constipation, nausea, and muscle weakness. Alternative therapies like massage therapy, acupuncture, and heat/cold therapy may be able to help you manage your pain without the uncomfortable side effects. Ask your doctor for recommendations. 

Work with a physical therapist

Time, nutrition, and rest all promote healing from a back injury, but exercise is also an important part of rehabilitation. Doing the right exercise in the right way is key, however, as taking on too much too fast or exercising with poor form can increase the likelihood of re-injury.  Physical therapists are trained professionals who can provide you with safe, effective exercises that will help you regain your strength, balance, and mobility and get back to optimal health.

Do your homework

The back therapy treatment plan your physical therapist creates for you will likely include exercises to do at home.  Doing these exercises as your practitioner instructs will help accelerate your healing and give you a sense of empowerment by taking an active role in your own recovery. 

Try short-term rehab

If you’ve undergone back surgery or had an extensive back injury, a short-term rehabilitation facility may be a great option to get the extra care and recovery time you need to recuperate. A top-notch skilled nursing facility in particular will be staffed with medical professionals who will provide you with quality services and amenities such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, nutritious meals, and a nurturing environment—all designed to support you back to health and independence. 

Recovering from a back injury? Our short-term rehab facility can help. 

At Bella Vista Health Center in San Diego, we’re committed to providing the short-term residents in our care with a comfortable and therapeutic environment that allows them to heal and recover from injury and illness. Our dedicated and compassionate practitioners work to help each patient achieve optimal health so they can get back to the pleasures of independent living. Feel free to give us a call at (619) 644-1000. Come visit our 5-star facility in Lemon Grove today!