Accidents happen. And when they do, it may be difficult to avoid injury to your musculoskeletal system. But by adopting a healthy lifestyle, not only can you decrease the likelihood of injury associated with regular daily activities, you can help accelerate your rehabilitation should you find yourself recovering from an automobile accident, workplace injury or other misfortune..
Excess weight can put unnecessary strain on your musculoskeletal system and compromise its integrity. Eating a healthful diet and engaging in daily physical activity will help keep your weight under control and reduce the strain on your spine and joints.
Cardiovascular fitness will improve circulation, including blood flow to the spine, so try to engage in at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise daily, no less than three days a week. Increased strength and flexibility will help improve your posture, take stress off your back, and reduce the likelihood of overall muscle stiffness.
Resistance exercises also strengthen bone formation and help prevent osteoporosis, so it's important to include strength training exercises in your daily activities. (A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D will help optimize results.) Before engaging in physical activity, be sure to warm up your muscles slowly. And always use proper technique whether you're lifting weights in a gym or heavy boxes in your home.
Position heavy objects below the waist, take a wide stance and bend your knees (never arch your back). Tighten your abdomen muscles as you lift and carry heavy objects close to and centered on your body.
If your pain is the result of an injury suffered in a severe accident, it's best to seek immediate medical attention. However, if you're experiencing discomfort due to a minor mishap or abnormal physical activity, you may be able to accelerate your recover by following a few simple guidelines.
Apply a cold pack to the injury for the first few days to help reduce swelling, and then switch to heat to help relax the muscle.
Over-the-counter pain relievers (e.g., ibuprofen) can help alleviate minor pain, but be sure to consult your doctor if you've had a bad experience with over-the-counter pain relievers in the past or if you're taking prescription medication.
A warm bath before bed can help relax your muscles. And if you're experiencing back pain, placing a pillow between your knees (if you sleep on your side) or under your knees (if you sleep on your back) will help reduce stress on the spine and minimize discomfort.
Don't stay inactive too long. This will only exacerbate any muscle stiffness. Instead, take it easy for a day or two, and then slowly return to your normal routine - starting at half speed and working your way back to full speed.