Looking for advice on how to stay active while on a doctor ordered 2-3 week exercise restriction from lower back injury (moved wrong doing kettlebell swings). After two pregnancies in two years and turning 38 in two weeks, I was super happy to be back in the gym and working to lose the extra 40-50 lbs I’ve been carrying since my 1st pregnancy 7 yrs ago. I don’t want this setback to hinder my progress. Any stretches or low impact exercises you recommend just so I can try to stay moderately active during my recovery?
The treatment plan from my doctor is 2-3 week restriction, a steroid shot the day after injury, muscle relaxers every 3 hrs as needed, and anti-inflammatory 2x per day.
Any advice or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
My advice to you is to listen to your doctor but don’t be afraid to get a second opinion from a physiotherapist or sports medicine doctor. The medication prescribed seems like a lot but if your body needs to break its pain cycle then you should definitely follow that program.
Taking 3 weeks off is not going to set you back by any means. Looking long term, 3 weeks isn’t really a long time, but I do understand how that can feel like an eternity when you felt like you were on the path to success. What will set you back is trying to exercise through this time of healing, and here’s why:
There is a huge risk of hurting yourself even more when you have an injury that hasn’t fully healed. Your body is protecting whatever is injured and it isn’t moving as it should. Certain muscles aren’t being used and your movement patterns are different so either you will injure something else by over-compensating for a weaknesses or you will re-injure what is already injured. The few things that you could do really won’t be much more than gentle stretching or light core exercises and in my opinion, the risk outweighs the reward. If you keep re-injuring your back you will never get better and you’ll spend months, if not years, in this cycle of 1 step forward, 2 steps back.
Here are a few things you can do over the next couple of weeks to ensure you don’t have to spend too much time away from your workouts.
-See a physiotherapist once or twice a week to help your body heal and to do gentle rehabilitation exercises under their supervision.
-Stop stressing about not exercising. Yes you may have to take things a bit slower when you get back into it and your workouts may be harder than they were before you were hurt but that feeling should only last a few days. Most likely you will be so excited to get back to exercising you won’t care how hard it feels!
-Focus on your nutrition. Being injured is a perfect opportunity to spend more time cleaning up your diet. When we exercise we can be hungrier than normal and if we lack readily available healthy options it’s easy to slip up and overeat. If you focus on eating small portions of healthy foods, you may actually lose weight over these 3 weeks.
-Meditate. Many of us exercise to relieve our daily stresses and when the ability to do that is taken away our stress levels can increase. Meditation is a great way to calm your mind and when your mind is calm you think clearer and make better choices. Download a meditation app and spend 10 minutes each day sitting still.
-Start back slow. This is so important so you don’t injure yourself again. Also, address why you hurt yourself and try and fix the movement pattern that caused that injury. Maybe the movement was too complex for you or you lacked the strength to do it properly. Invest in a good personal trainer for a few sessions to ensure you are moving correctly.
-Try not to stress too much as injuries are a part of being active. Trust me, I’ve had my fair share. As soon as you can move pain free without medication and you have clearance from your doctor, get back to your same routine. That day will be here before you know it.
I’m always here to answer your smutty fitness questions. Email me at [email protected].