Do you think quarterback Mark Sanchez or defense tackle Kenrick Ellis have quality recovery and repair tactics post football practice and games? Besides being injured right now they both still have to have a game plan to help their tissues repair to be able to play and compete at such a high level.
Athletes (yes YOU!), HOW do you help your tissues repair after strenuous workouts or activities?
There are several key important components of tissue repair, including nutrition, sleep, and positioning. Today’s posting, however, is focused on repair time and the physiological inflammatory response of your tissues post exercise and how you can help speed up that process with some simple modalities.
It is common to have our bones, muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments stressed in workouts- it helps us grow, get stronger, and continuously perform at higher and higher levels. Remember Wolff’s Law? This ‘juice’, or inflammation, that our body releases when we stress is a natural process. You probably already know how long it takes your body to repair after longer bike rides, flag football games, or met-con workouts versus shorter more intense workouts. Healthy tissue inflammation may only last a few hours; for an actual injury like both Sanchez and Ellis are dealing with swelling can last 24-48 hours to 2 weeks before it becomes chronic.
Getting nerdy with it again folks. Think of inflammation like troops deploying to a war zone. Your white blood cells are the troops and the damaged or strained tissue is the battlefield. Initially there is a neural reflex to cellular injury that causes vasoconstriction right away, then following this short period there is a vaso-dilation or opening up of vessels to allow blood to flow to the wound. This increase of the troops ammunition such as blood flow brings nutrients, oxygen, and phagocytes cells to the area that needs repair to help it heal .
Mission accomplishment in the above description of inflammation is that you flush the “juice” to the lymph system which is an open highway of helping the body eliminate waste quickly!
Legit Repair Tactics:
- Compression- using a band of some sort (Vodoo band by MobilityWOD)
- Elevation- I do not mean go to 18,000 feet, rather raise the limb and let the “juice” flow towards the lymph nodes located at major highways of the body such as the groin, armpit, and abdomen.
- Heat– used by the Chinese for MANY years. Heat can be applied prior to and following workouts as long as there is no acute (24-48 hours to up to 2 weeks) injuries incurred. Please note that heat is contraindicated or have adverse effects with acute injuries. Heat causes capillaries (small blood vessels) to widen which is not needed if there is already inflammation in the tissue. If the injury is chronic (3-4 weeks to months/years), the need for blood flow and opening of that capillary network is important. In times of acute inflammation following an injury or even workout, simple compression and elevation is MOST useful.
- Marc ProTM Device (MPD) – Helps with electromyostimlation (EMS). The MPD was designed to stimulate an ultra low frequency, low tension, non-tetanizing (continuous contraction of muscle tissue), and non-fatiguing contraction. It helps with the healing in the tissues by pumping arterial blood, fresh with “the troops or repair team” of fluids or inflammation, into the muscle and into capillary beds. This ammunition of fresh, oxygenated blood forces venous blood return and lymphatic draining, which carries all the metabolic waste products and damage away from the muscle.
- Sleep, Proper Nutrition, Hydration, Time Off, Total Health are probably the most essential pieces of recovery. What I shared above is for immediate repair post workout, however the following links will help you take a good look at your lifestyle and provide information to help you make healthy changes where they are needed. For more information regarding these topics please look at below links. There is a lot of information out there, so your credible sources- Great Article on Sleep in the – Huffington Post: Sleep and the Brain
– Great Articles on Nutrition and Repair: Interview With Mike Kesthely of Dynamic Nutrition & Team OPT; T-Nation- Nutrition and Inflammation; Robb Wolf on Post Workout Nutrition
– Hydration: Mayo Clinic Advice– Need a vacation or time off: Recovery Week in Costa Rica
– Total Health: Meditation, Exercise, Nutrition, Lifestyle
The Enemy to natural tissue repair or What NOT to do:
- Use NSAID’s- Non-Steriodal Anti-Iflammatories such as ibuprofen or motrin will help with your pain, but the reason the inflammation is occurring will not be fixed. It merely covers up the problem.
- ICING- also just masks the problem and slows down the inflammation and further congests tissues that are working to drain into the lymphatic system. Icing can back up the lymphatic system which alone can cause problems with allowing tissues to heal in a normal period of time! http://www.mobilitywod.com/2013/07/community-video-peoples-weve-got-to-stop-icing-a-year-later
- Supps- Take a bunch of supplements you are not educated about
Final Note: Thanks to the Resiliency Project, for every 4 Marc Pro’s purchased using the code KSTAR, 1 Marc Pro is donated to a veteran, active duty, or wounded warrior. If you want to learn more about the science behind the Mar Pro Unit: http://marcpro.com/new/the-science-behind-the-marc-pro
Model is Anneke Marvin, owner of CrossFit Temecula South
1. Athletic Lab. Inflammation Friend or Fo. Available at: http://athleticlab.com/blog/comments/inflammation-friend-or-foe/. Accessibility verified 4 Sept 2013
2. Hertling D, and Kessler RM. Management of Common Musculoskeletal Disorders; Physical Therapy Principles and Methods 4th Edition. Pennsylvania. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. 2006
3.Cantu RI, Grodin AJ, Stanborough RW. Myofascial Manipulation: Theory and Clinical Application. Pro-ed. Texas. 2012