What your GP, Physio or Chiro probably isn't telling you
Injuries suck, we all know that. Most of us have had an injury at some point in our lives. Even when it’s something as seemingly minor as a sore foot, injuries affect so many aspects in our lives. Often I see people cancelling their gym memberships or not coming into the gym because they are injured and every time this happens it saddens me because I know that there are certain things that GP’s, Chiro’s, Physio’s and Specialists fail to tell them about their injury, one of these things is the most powerful piece of advice that you can have.
The body is actually pretty amazing at healing itself. Yes, a little bit of help from a therapist who knows what they are doing doesn’t go astray but it’s generally not always enough. The most important thing that you can do to help your body to heal is to address your nutrition. If you give your body the right foods and avoid certain foods, you will turbo charge your body’s ability to heal. I’m not saying that this is something you will have to do for the rest of your life, however, if you suffer from ongoing chronic pain or conditions such as arthritis, a permanent change is probably the best choice.
“But I eat a healthy diet already” you might say…. And yes, what you are eating is probably considered by society and most health professionals to be healthy, but is it a healing diet that will assist your body to reduce inflammation and heal you? Chances are, it isn’t. Especially if you are consuming things like dairy, coffee, BBQ’d foods, fried foods, refined carbohydrates, vegetable oils, food additives, margarine, alcohol or processed meats. Even lean red meat and chicken, which are commonly known as ‘healthy foods’ can cause inflammation in the body and slow down the healing process meaning that you will be out of action for longer than you really need to be.
When your body is healing, plant based foods play a major role in assisting it to heal quicker. Don’t believe me? Do some research yourself. There are so many credible scientific studies that have been done which prove exactly this. If you are truly serious about recovering from your injury or illness, you will take responsibility for your own healing, do the research and make changes to the food that you consume. Any food that causes inflammation or acidity in the body will slow down your healing and make it more difficult to your body to recover, so avoid these foods at all cost. Foods that take a long time too digest that have little nutritional value will use up precious energy that could be dedicated to healing.
Not only that, but your nutrition will assist you to control your body weight and reduce the amount of strain on your body while it is going through its recovery. It will also help you mentally during the process.
Some of the changes that you may have to make to your nutrition could be quite extreme and very difficult for you to do, however the question you need to ask yourself is not about how difficult it will be to change the way that you eat, but how much do you want to not be in pain anymore and not be able to do the things that you want to do?
Don’t feel silly that you don’t know these things, because, most health professionals aren’t even mindful of this information. Perhaps, because knowing this information could possibly mean that you visit them less and therefore they receive less of your hard earned money….. In fact, I have been in the Fitness Industry for nearly 15 years, have suffered multiple injuries in the past and I didn’t even know this stuff up until a couple of months ago.
For me, I suffered a severe back injury which I was told would require surgery and would take between 6-12 months to be able to start living a normal life again. Long term it would mean that I would have to give up so many things that I loved to do. For me, exercise and teaching classes was part of my identity and I felt that everything was being taken away from me. This was too much for me to accept and I chose not to. Instead I chose to research the shit out of it and find out an alternative to what was simply, not an option. In my research I found out so many alarming things and instantly made the decision to change my diet to reflect the things that I have said above.
It was expected that I wouldn’t be able to walk for at least eight weeks and that I wouldn’t be able to return to work for at least twelve weeks. I have been back at work and walking for the last six weeks. It was expected that I wouldn’t be able to exercise, even mildly for around six months. I have been in the pool for just over five weeks (just three weeks after my ct scan), last week I was able to swim unassisted without the use of a pool buoy, I was also able to do a light workout in the gym. This week I was able to practice SH’BAM for about half an hour at work then another twenty minutes when I got home. Today I was able to cover 3.5km in the pool with a combination of pool buoy, paddles, kicking, walking and unassisted swimming. I haven’t had surgery, I haven’t been seeing a physio or a chiro. I have kept moving and completely overhauled my nutrition from a ‘healthy’ diet to a healing diet. Mentally I feel clearer than I ever have, my skin is the best it’s ever been, I have loads of energy, I am sleeping better and I feel super happy despite not being able to do all the things I want to do, yet. I am not superwoman and I do not have magical healing powers. I have not spent money on physiotherapy or chiropractic. I have seen my Osteopath a couple of times to ensure that my hips and spine aren’t out of alignment because of walking favouring one side but apart from that, the only treatment I have put my body through is great nutrition and gentle movement.
I won’t lie, the first couple of weeks in the pool I was in a large amount of pain afterward, but I persevered.
The food that I was eating was completely different to the food I ate before my injury, but I gave it a shot.
I didn’t actually know whether or not it would work for me, but the alternative was a horrible thought.
It has been a complete lifestyle overhaul that I have had to research and learn new foods and recipes, but it has been more than worth it.
If you are suffering from an ongoing injury or are in chronic pain and haven’t tried this approach, maybe it’s time to give it a shot. If you’re happy being in pain and not being able to live your life the way you want to then by all means, continue on the path that you are on. But trust me when I say, there is an alternative, even if your GP, Physio or Chiro hasn’t told you that there is.
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Until next time,