If you’ve got an injury that won’t heal or is constant reoccurring, the key you’ve been missing might be poor circulation. I drastically improved my own chronic wrist injuries using 3 simple techniques. Before you can apply them correctly, though, you need a basic understanding of why circulation is critical for recovery.
What makes circulation so important for healing?
Your circulatory system distributes oxygen to your muscles. Your muscles use that oxygen to contract and make your body move. Your blood also carries a number of other critical supplies, namely: nutrients, immune cells, and all the chemicals and hormones involved in maintenance, growth, and repair. Basically, everything needed to keep your muscles running, and everything needed to repair them is in your blood. You can also think of your circulatory system as a sort of biochemical garbage man. All the bad stuff, like dead cells, leftover chemicals from the healing process, and byproducts of daily use all sit around at your injury site until fresh blood supply can sweep it all out to be disposed of. The weaker your circulation is, the more garbage will build up and cause trouble for recovery. If your injury is in tougher tissue like tendons, ligaments, or cartilage, then it could naturally get only a tiny fraction of the blood that your other tissue gets. Don’t limit your blood supply even more!
So here’s the most effective ways to give yourself a healing boost:
1. Prepare your body before and during activities with heat and micro-breaks
Soak your injured body parts in hot (but not scalding!) water to dilate blood vessels and loosen tissue. Then, during activity, make sure you take short breaks every 5 minutes to loosen up. Take a longer break every hour. You can jump around, stretch or massage your body. Just make sure you get the blood flowing. Stagnation is the enemy here.
2. Avoid the two great evils: Smoking and Bad diet
Smoking has been proven to have an adverse effect on circulation. If you need another reason to quit, remind yourself that smoking is probably holding back your healing. Diets high in unhealthy fats and simple carbohydrates, like sugar, are inflammatory and they increase your risk of diabetes, which destroys circulation. It’s so hard on your circulation that there are special types of socks to avoid further restriction of blood flow to feet.
3. Find and treat trigger points, or “muscle knots”
Trigger points are a bit of a medical phenomenon: widely recognized, but poorly understood. If you’ve ever had someone massage a muscle knot in your neck, shoulders, or back (two really common trigger point hideouts) then you’ve found a trigger point. You can find them by feeling around with firm, but careful pressure. Generally they can be resolved with persistent, but cautious massaging over a few days.
Trigger points are actually predictably located using a trigger point map. This is a pretty good map, based on where you feel pain: http://www.triggerpoints.net/ (note: no affiliation)
Apply these techniques diligently and you should see a meaningful bump to your circulation and healing rate within a few days.
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Steven writes articles about recovering from chronic wrist, elbow, and forearm injuries on his website www.thewristguy.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org