How to Take Care of ‘Small’ Injuries from Sparring
Not just as fighters but as human beings it’s inevitable that we are going to face some injury in our lifetime. Here are some ways to prevent them, but also some tips on how to nurse yourself back to health. But if the injuries are serious, it’s important to consult your physician. This article is not doctor-approved.
If you have an injury, and you don’t know how severe it is, seek immediate medical attention from a professional. Spend the time, and the money, to go to get the right medical help. We’re only given one body in this life, so we have to make sure we’re taking care of it.
Rest and inactivity are important to promote a full healing. It’s usually harder for BJJ practitioners, or for athletes to take time off because most of the time they’re so addicted to training, and a chunk of time off throws them off their game. But rest is essential. For instance, if you have a broken arm, and the doctor has told you to rest for two weeks after putting on the cast, you must follow his or her instructions so that the bone can have a chance to fully heal. Only after that does the cast come off and you can start working the muscles around the injury. But until then you have to rest and be patient, and give your body the time it needs to recover.
Icing is also important. Applying ice will help reduce the swelling. Among athletes, it’s universally understood that applying ice is key for an injury or even for a sore body after practice. It’s very popular among fighters and athletes to take ice baths, or participate in a cryotherapy session, to reduce the swelling in the body so they can heal quicker, and get back into training sooner, and harder, without the chance of further injuring themselves. Making your own ice pack is quick and easy: Simply fill up a plastic bottle or styrofoam cup with water, and put it in the freezer. After a few hours, you will have a nice ice block you can apply to injuries.
Another remedy for injury is compression, and elevation. Both of these remedies fit in perfectly to the acronym for treating injuries — RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). The key is to immobilize the injured area so you can’t use it, and reduce the swelling by preventing the blood from flowing to the injured area.
In addition to ice, heat and medicated creams can also help with injury. Some sports medicine specialists recommend applying heat for a couple of days to a week after the injury occurs. As mentioned earlier, it’s important to reduce the swelling by applying ice, but you also want to loosen up the area, especially when you wake up in the morning and your body temperature is cool, and your muscles are tight. Or, if you’ve been sitting around all day, working in the office, applying heat to the injured area will help loosen it up. You can also use topical creams like Bengay, or Thai ointment with menthol, a heating pad, or even just take a hot shower.
Pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen are also options for coping with injury. Follow the directions on the bottle, or the advice of your doctor. In most circumstances, you should limit yourself to six pills in a 24 hour period. If you’re feeling really sore, take two or three the morning, and three right before bed. Is it a placebo effect? Maybe a little bit, but if you are also using the ice, allowing yourself to rest, and applying the topical creams, or heating pad you are on the right road to feeling better.
Ensuring a healthy diet is also crucial to a speedy recovery. Make sure you’re giving your body the proper nutrients, vitamins and minerals it needs, especially if it’s injured. If you don’t feel like you’re getting everything you need, then take a multivitamin. For instance, if you don’t feel like eating fish throughout the day, you can usually make up for it by taking vitamins containing plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Massage and foam rolling can also help the healing process. These are good preventative measures — , something to take care of your body before injury strikes. Foam rolling for some can be a little painful, as it stimulates a deep tissue massage, but it’s great for muscle soreness, as well as returning to training without a high risk of injuring yourself. Hard rolling, especially in Jiu-Jitsu, takes a big toll on your body, so getting a professional massage could be life changing. Swedish massages are recommended because they are a little softer than the deep tissue massages. You can work your way up into deep tissue massages, which tend to be a little more painful although they great for releasing the tense muscles of BJJ practitioners, or athletes in general.
And while you are doing all of these things to recover, don’t forget about exercise. Low impact exercise is best during the recovery period. If any exercise causes pain in your injured area, go on to something else. Yoga movements are great to work on your flexibility and mobility with stretches. If you can get away with it, do some cardio. Swimming is also very forgiving on the body, yet still challenging by working with the resistance of the water. But like everything else involving injury and recovery, it’s paramount to seek medical attention before exercising.