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How to regain mobility after an accident

How to regain mobility after an accident

A condition that restricts your mobility is bound to reduce your enjoyment of life. Here are some simple measures that will get you back on your feet

Accidents apart, most mobility problems are caused by musculoskeletal conditions that affect the bones, muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and other connective tissue. These often cause pain and stiffness in areas such as the back, neck and limbs. In a UK study published in July 2010, more than one in four adults—and one in three older adults—had seen their GP about a musculoskeletal condition in the previous year.

"Most mobility problems are caused by musculoskeletal conditions that affect the bones, muscles, joints, and other connective tissue"

Back pain accounted for one in five of these consultations, with knee problems prompting one visit in ten. Most people experience a musculoskeletal condition at some point in life, but there are now many effective medicines and therapies.

How to regain mobility after an accident - man with back pain sitting in his office Credit: AndreyPopov

If medical treatment is necessary, experts agree that certain factors—including pain control, having accurate information, believing that recovery is possible and getting on with life—all help the healing process. Here are some ideas:

Do your research

Find out as much as you can about what may be causing your problems and how best to manage them. There are many patient education and self-management programmes for specific disorders. For example, for back pain, visit the website of BackCare; for arthritis, try Arthritis Care and Arthritis Research UK.

Seek advice quickly

If the immobility and pain continue untreated, your body may experience changes that make recovery more difficult. Timely advice from a professional may help avert further damage.

Think positive

A positive attitude will help you make progress and overcome difficulties. Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t.

Stay active

How to regain mobility after an accident - a couple walking their dog in the parkCredit: PeopleImages

With all musculoskeletal problems, it’s important to keep moving. This may not be possible initially if your pain is severe, but don’t put your feet up for too long.

Resume everyday activities such as walking to the shops, going to work and light gardening as soon as possible. Range-of-movement exercises are especially important for musculoskeletal health.  

Do what you can

Don’t give up. Try to exercise for at least five or ten minutes each day, even if you feel tired. Movement is energising, and you may find you can do more once you start.

Sleep well

A number of musculoskeletal problems, especially fibromyalgia, can disturb sleep. Disrupted sleep can, in turn, worsen inflammation (redness, swelling and/or pain), which is often a feature of these disorders, though not of fibromyalgia.

"Disrupted sleep can, in turn, worsen inflammation, which is often a feature of musculoskeletal problems"

If pain is keeping you awake, ask your doctor or physiotherapist for advice; it may be possible, for example, for you to time your medications to provide more relief at night.

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet

How to regain mobility after an accident - Flat lay of an anti-inflammatory dietCredit: marilyna

Research shows that eating too many fatty and sugary foods worsens the pain, swelling and redness that characterise inflammation. Counter inflammation by eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and a good intake of omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and fish oils and foods such as walnuts, hempseed and flaxseed.

"Eating too many fatty and sugary foods worsens the pain, swelling and redness that characterise inflammation"

Because inflammation fuels bone loss, such a diet may also help to slow osteoporosis, according to a study reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2008.

Banner credit: mkitina4

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