I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV.
Although, my mom still says I should go back to med school.
But, I will claim outright that I know more about practical healing than any doctor I’ve come across.
It’s not the doctor’s faults. They have too many areas they are supposed to be experts in. Worse yet, they are fighting against the upstream flow of tradition and dogma.
Lucky for me and you, I broke the mold when it came to thinking about the human body.
In case you did not know, I have two totally reconstructed knees. No, I didn’t suffer an ACL tear, although I that would have been a blessing compared to what I went through.
I actually ruptured both patellar tendons 2.5 years apart from each other. And the tendons didn’t tear like tendons normally tear. Nope. They ripped in half both vertically and horizontally.
Normally a tendon rips off the bone, also known as an avulsion fracture. If you’ve ever know anyone that has torn a tendon, most likely they will tell you there was no pain. That is because the tendon stayed intact.
Well, tendons are LOADED with nerves as they are the power transmitters for the central nervous system. So you may be able to imagine the pain I was in when they both happened. Not to boast, but in addition to that, I tore several ligaments, my knee capsules blew out and my IT band with each injury. Twilight Zone type of stuff.
I am not trying to have a pissing contest with anyone. I am trying to lay the stage down for you to know that I have been injured severely and not so severely in the past and I have come to know some of the best ways to recover from an injury in a hurry.
As far as I am aware of, I recovered faster than any professional athlete or anyone in the world for that matter from anyone that has ruptured a patellar tendon, the most severe of all sports injuries.
But for you, maybe it’s a bad back, maybe a sore shoulder or maybe your knees are bothering you. The severity of the injury doesn’t matter. What matters is that you know how the human body responds to injury and what to do about it.
First, when an injury occurs, inflammation sets in. Inflammation gets a bad rap. Yes, inflammation, chronic I mean, is the basis for disease. However, when it comes to acute injury, we need inflammation as it kicks off the healing process. What we don’t want is swelling.
So right away, you know we do not want to try and limit or stop inflammation. But we do want to stop swelling.
What is the first thing a doctor or physical therapist or weekend warrior going to tell you to do? Yup, ice.
A ha! Therein lies the question. First, it’s important to understand when this phenomenon of icing started. I don’t have my book right in front of me, but I believe it was in the 1960’s, if not the 1950’s.
An adolescent boy was riding a train car and was hanging out of it. His arm, hit a pole and was ripped clean off. There were some doctors nearby and thank God, they know to put it on ice. So the arm was put on ice, the boy was rushed to the hospital along with the arm and they were able to save his arm.
It became a national news story. And the myth of icing for all injuries was born. A little scrutiny would have saved a lot of wasted time on couches for the injured patient in years to come. The ice did its job; it slowed down the blood flow in the dismembered arm. Because it slowed down he blood flow, the tissue in the arm didn’t die and thus, they were able to reattach it.
As you can see, the media completely misapplied the logical thinking and the doctors of the day even bought into it.
When we suffer an injury, the last thing we want to do is to keep blood from entering in. We need blood flow to bring in nutrients and to carry away the bad stuff that is causing swelling. Ice has the opposite effect.
The first thing we need to do is get heat on that puppy to increase the blood flow to the area.
The second thing we need with any injury, assuming you are more than a day out of surgery, is MOVEMENT. Again, this applies even if its something like a chronically bad back that you have had for years. Stillness will wreak havoc on your healing process.
The body is like one big pump. In order to pump the blood and lymph fluid, we need to contract the pump. This can be accomplished by movement and muscular contraction, which will further bring the good healing nutrients to the area and remove the crap ones that are keeping you from healing.
Movement also releases a host of endorphins, which are natural pain killers and feel good chemicals. The brain plays a huge role in how you feel and how you interpret pain.
Movement also increase peristaltic action, which is basically how foods gets moved through your gut for digestion. No movement and this comes to a halt. Not only will this increase your chance of constipation but you won’t be extracting all the nutrients from your food that you need for healing.
Lastly, the only way that a joint can be truly 100% healthy is to move the joint! Ideally through a full range of motion. This brings synovial fluid to the area which is like WD-40 for the joints.
Finally, with healing, use compression when possible. For my knees, I used thick neoprene knee sleeves. This helps with the pumping system and it keeps it warm, both greatly beneficial.
The next time a doctor tells you to ice, tell him to for a hike and ask him why? (Note that the only thing ice is good for are cold adult beverages and for pain killing*).