Effective Ways To Kick The Body Into Recovery Mode

February 10, 2020

The human body is truly incredible. It is resilient and complicated, yet also delicate. Sometimes our bodies need a little outside help when it comes to recovering from injury, trauma, or sickness. Whether it’s the flu, a broken bone, or emotional trauma, we are exposed to a wide variety of health issues over a lifetime. And although our bodies and minds are fantastically resilient, there are things we can do to help them recover and heal more quickly.

Here are common health concerns, from the common cold to emotional trauma, with specific tips to help nourish a speedier recovery for each.

Common Cold

Cold remedies are just about as common as the cold itself – and although we all know that there is no cure for the common cold, there are certain things you can do to help relieve symptoms and make yourself feel better, faster.

If you’ve caught a cold, expect the symptoms to last around 1 or 2 weeks. However, this doesn’t mean you have to feel terrible the entire time. Be sure to get lots of rest and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Water helps loosen congestion and flushes out toxins. Combat stuffiness and congestion by taking a hot, steamy bath or shower, and ease a sore throat by gargling with a warm saltwater solution of ¼ - ½ teaspoon of salt in 8-ounces of warm water. Lastly, get some natural fresh air and sunshine. Increasing your levels of vitamin D and sunshine can help slash a common cold’s duration by half, plus it will feel good to get out and breathe in some fresh air. 

Flu

The flu is, unfortunately, another common illness for which there is no cure. You can feel achy, nauseous, feverish, and just plain terrible. Most flu symptoms will dissipate over 24 - 72 hours, but there are additional things you can do to help ease unpleasant symptoms.

First and foremost, rest and stay home. The flu is contagious and you don’t want to get your co-workers, friends, or family to catch it. Your body needs to rest so that it can focus on recovery. If you have the flu, you most likely have a fever and aches because your body has turned up the heat to fight the virus. You can also place a humidifier in your room to help ease coughing and congestion. Diffuse peppermint and eucalyptus essential oil to open up air passages for better breathing. LIke the common cold, getting some sunshine and fresh air will help you feel better and shorten the duration of the flu. Gentle walking for at least 10 minutes, a few times per day will help the entire body feel better as well. 

Heart Attack

Suffering a minor or major heart attack takes a very serious toll on your body. Your body and heart will need lots of rest and TLC before rushing back into any sort of normal routine. The time it takes to make a full recovery will depend on how active you were before the heart attack, the severity of the attack, and how your body responds to it. Expect a full recovery in about two to three months.

You can recover more quickly from a heart attack if you avoid stress and stressful environments, avoid extreme temperatures, and avoid placing any unnecessary load on your heart. Slowly increase your physical activity based on the recommendations from your doctor and be sure to enroll in a cardiac rehabilitation program at your hospital for a full network of support. Of course, be sure to quit smoking, eat healthy, and aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night.

Stroke

The road to recovery after a stroke can be a difficult one. Sometimes, it can take weeks, months, or years to recover and even then, recovery means something different to each stroke patient. Problems may continue after the stroke such as paralysis or weakness on one side of the body, trouble with cognitive functions, trouble with emotions, pain in the hands and feet, trouble chewing, and bladder problems. However, therapy can be of great use when it comes to a positive recovery.

Speech therapists can help stroke patients relearn how to speak and pronounce words. They will also help you understand speech if that is proving difficult. Physical therapists can help you with exercises, relearning movements, and helping improve any coordination that was lost because of the stroke. An occupational therapist can help stroke sufferers focus on simple, daily activities such as eating, drinking, bathing, dressing, reading, and writing.

Outpatient Surgery

Outpatient surgeries are extremely common and are performed for a variety of reasons. Whether you’re having a hand surgery or gallbladder removal, recovery will vary depending on the type of procedure, but there are certain things that you can generally expect during recovery from outpatient surgery.

After you’ve awoken from anesthesia, it’s important that you walk or sit on the edge of the bed as soon as you’re able. This will prevent complications like deep vein thrombosis. For any pain you’re experiencing, there are multiple options to choose from. Discuss with your doctor ways to mitigate discomfort and manage pain. Keeping inflammation down is important. Although acute inflammation is actually beneficial to the healing process, you want to make sure it doesn’t become chronic inflammation. Keeping stress to a minimum is also key to a successful recovery. 

Deep breathing and coughing may also help prevent complications after surgery. Coughing expands the lungs and helps prevent pneumonia. Incision care will be another important part of your recovery — your nursing staff should explain how to clean your incisions and change any bandages. Keep your level of activity to a minimum until you’ve been given a green light by your doctor.

Broken Bones

Broken and fractured bones are painful and can be a serious hindrance to our day-to-day lives. The healing process involves a complex process of tissue and cell proliferation and differentiation that happens over three phases: inflammation, repair, and remodeling. It’s all pretty incredible! After proper placement by a doctor, your bones will heal themselves, but there are certain steps you can take to speed up the process.

You’ll need to make sure you’re eating enough calories so that you have enough fuel to give your body to heal. If you’ve had multiple fractures, your healing process could require up to 6,000 calories per day. You’ll want to increase your protein intake as well. Consult with your doctor about developing a nutrition plan. Vitamins and minerals can aid in the healing of broken bones, so try taking a high-quality, food-derived multivitamin while you recover. Avoid smoking and restrict or eliminate your alcohol intake.

Dental Procedures or Surgery

After oral surgery, you’ll most likely be in a bit of pain. To help reduce your discomfort and help your mouth heal, there are some simple measures you can take once you’ve begun the recovery process. First and foremost, rest. Don’t overexert yourself as your body needs to focus its energy on healing your mouth. Avoid hot, crunchy foods, and stick to soft or liquid foods for the first few days.

To help reduce swelling, apply ice packs to your face for fifteen minutes on, fifteen minutes off. It’s extremely important that you keep your mouth clean and follow any regimens your doctor may have written down for you. Twenty-four hours after the surgery, gently rinse your mouth with a warm saltwater solution four times per day. Make sure that you don’t brush or floss in the surgical area until it’s fully healed, and be extra careful when brushing or flossing the surrounding areas.

Emotional Trauma

Experiencing a traumatic event in life can take a serious toll on your mind and body. You can often experience intense, frightening, and confusing emotions that hinder your day-to-day life. It might be the result of a natural disaster, death in the family, car accidents, violent crime, or any other traumatic incident — and it doesn’t just affect the survivor, but the witnesses and family members as well. It’s important to understand that people react to trauma in different ways, and that there are steps you can take toward healing.

First and foremost, realize that there is no “right” way to respond to a traumatic event, so how you heal, and how long it takes you to heal, is different for everyone. Try your best to avoid reliving the traumatic event by repeating it over and over in your head, which can overwhelm your nervous system. Keep your mind occupied with tasks or hobbies like reading, cooking, or hanging out with friends. As with many health issues, though, this is about balance. Simply pushing away thoughts about the trauma without processing through them is also not helpful. Find someone you can talk to, whether that’s a friend, family member, or professional therapist, who can help you process through it in a healthy way.

After a disaster or trauma, it’s important to get back to a normal routine — or as much back to normal as possible. This can help you minimize anxiety and feelings of hopelessness. Even if you’re unable to return to school or work, having a regular eating and sleeping schedule can help bring structure back into your life. Connecting with others who have experienced a similar trauma can help you overcome feelings of loneliness — look for local grief and trauma support groups in your area. If symptoms of depression or anxiety increase, you may be experiencing PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and you should speak with a medical professional.

Mind and Body Recovery

Active recovery involves preparing your mind and body for healing. The power of the mind should not be overlooked; a healthy mindset and a thankful heart can aid your recovery in ways that might surprise you!

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