InHealth

Tips to Strengthen Muscles After an Injury

muscles

Sports and recreation related injuries are incredibly common. One study conducted by the US Department of Health and Human Services found that there were 8.6 million who suffered from this type of injury in 2014. Of course, there are other types of injuries too, from chronic overuse, falls and more.

No matter what the injury, the key to recovery and preventing future injuries is to keep the muscles strong. The best ways to strengthen them depend on the location of the injury.

Back Injuries

Recovering from a back injury properly is essential to spine health and the quality of your life. It will allow you to maintain mobility and posture while boosting muscle strength to protect your spine. The key to doing so is to focus on strengthening your core. Your core is a muscle group made up of more than 30 muscles in the lower back and abdomen. If you have a strong core, it lessens the chance of developing chronic pain from the injury as well as mitigating the odds of reinjury.

Pelvic tilts are ideal – you’ll simply lie down with your back flat on the floor and knees bent. Put your hands onto your hip bones and then slowly tilt your pelvis, first toward your rib cage and then away from it. Your lower back should lift. Aim to continue the movement for 60 seconds. Performing the hip bridge will help to strengthen the posterior muscles of the back, the legs and the hips. To do so, lie on your back with your hands next to your sides. Lift your hips up while keeping your feet and shoulder blades lengthened and on the ground. Aim to hold that pose for 30 seconds.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

Rotator cuff injuries are common in those who perform overhead motions repetitively, such as carpenters and painters, as well as those who play tennis or baseball. Made up of four muscles, as well as tendons surrounding the shoulder joint, your rotator cuff helps to keep the upper arm bone firmly in the socket of your shoulder. This injury usually feels like a dull ache in– if you aren’t sure if that’s the injury you have, you can take a rotator cuff tear test to find out.

You can strengthen the four muscles that make up your rotator cuff by performing certain exercises like arm reaches. You’ll lie flat on the floor on your back, extending your legs and arms while engaging the abs. Reach one arm toward the ceiling and lift it until your shoulder blade is off the floor. Hold it for 5 to 10 seconds before returning your arm to the floor and then repeat on the other side.

Hamstring Injuries

Injuries to your hamstring can not only be very painful but debilitating. For proper recovery, it’s important to find ways to keep using it without putting more strain on it. Isometric hamstring exercises help to flex the muscles without stretching them and should be combined with strengthening your glutes as the muscles work together – with strong glutes, it may help prevent a future hamstring injury. Try single leg bridges by lying on the ground with your back flat and knees bent. Raise one leg up while activating the glute muscles. Keep the leg raised, pushing into your heel while raising the hips off the floor. Your core, hamstring, and glutes should all be engaged. Repeat 10 times on each side.

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