Injury and Health
Injuries are a common thing. Last week, as I review my patients, I can recall no less than 8 brand new injuries that took place. From car accidents (1), falls <some on stairs> (4), to gardening incidents (1) to working out (2)… and there might be more? That is a lot of damage done in one week, especially for a summer week where I am seeing on average 20% less people.
So with this much injury happening all around me, I think we should discuss what happens following an injury, and make sure that we are taking all of the necessary steps to heal at our absolute best. I am first reminded of my eye injury, and the systemic havoc that it played on my body. For those who are newer to my office, and don’t know the history… it will soon be five years since the day I was hit with a hockey puck from a slapshot. It hit me in my left eye, cracking my cheek bone on the way in, and rupturing my eye. It was a 25+ stitch repair to my “globe” (eyeball) to put it back together. The iris was displaced, so it appeared as though I was looking up, but in reality, that bit of color was simply exploded into the wrong place.
The thing that I often forget about, but was reminded when I got into this discussion on Saturday with one of my patients, was the way I felt following the injury. Not right after, but months after. Starting about six months after the injury, and lasting for close to a year, I had acquired such severe body pain, that had I actually opened up and talked about it at the time, I would have said that I had acquired fibromyalgia. I had taken care of so many fibro patients over the years, that this would be the only way I could have described my symptoms.
Real untouched photo of Tyrone Prothro of the Alabama Crimson Tide
It might have been a small case of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) which is a nervous system/immune system over-response to injury. It typically occurs in limbs (the pain is there) following minor injuries. Whatever it was, it was pretty awful. I would wake up in the morning and moan and groan on my way to the bathroom. My legs were the primary source of pain, but everything felt stiff. I was working out the same, but feeling pain like it was ten times the amount of work going in. So part of my desire today, is to help you understand the different directions that your body could head following minor injury.
First, most injuries = healing. Normal healing is dependent on a few things, but you will at least head in that direction as the primary movement of your body. Those factors, however that support moving your WHOLE body towards healing are:
nervous system function
diet (necessary nutrients as well as avoiding certain things)
These are the primary needs for healing. Notice, there is no need for medication or band aids to heal, kind of cool, those are actually totally unnecessary, and in many cases will actually disturb healing (keep that in mind when you are using the med to gain the rest). So let’s review this list. The first is hinged on being a low stress peaceful individual, with normal brain function and normal spinal and nerve function. This allows your brain to direct healing (mitosis and DNA replication) at the cellular level.
Second, diet. You need a HOST of nutrients. Every cell has two layers of fat, so a diet high in healthy fats (coconut oil, avocado, fish, nuts, organic dairy – butter and yogurt are tops); a diet with clean and lean protein and a diet with a ton of vegetables to support the enzyme processes of tissue re-building and inflammation breakdown. If you adhere to this kind of diet, you are now more likely to be healed properly. And lastly, the one that I probably did not do enough of when I was post injury/post surgery… rest.
You should really be thinking about 8+ hours of rest as a minimum for as long as it takes to know that you are through the worst. I actually as so beat, that for the first three months, I averaged about 12 hours of sleep everyday. It was really weird for me. I am always working on something, writing on the computer, publishing sprouts, etc. But all of a sudden I found myself both unable to look at a computer without significant pain, and the feeling of absolute fatigue; there was nothing left to do but sleep! I just think I cut it off too soon, and likely that was responsible for my 11 month slide into daily pain.
What should you avoid when it comes to healing? Sugar, excessive lectin (not leptin) foods such as grains, legumes, dairy (other than the good stuff listed above), and potatoes. These foods, especially when you are susceptible “post trauma”, can do some significant damage.
Bottom line – pursue health, harder when you are hurt if you need more motivation, otherwise pursue it hard all the time.
Take this daily sprout and pass it on, email it out, and help change the world. Every bit of knowledge is power, and health is the most important thing you have in your life. Every time, health is it. Be well, Dr. E