How to get back on your feet after an injury

If you’ve recently had an accident or injured yourself, it can be frustrating waiting to heal. You may have lost some of your independence, and this can take a huge toll on your health and wellbeing.    

Luckily, there are steps you can take and services you can lean on to help you feel more independent at home. 

Stay active

One of the best ways to recover at a quicker pace is to stay active – within reason, of course. Depending on how severe your injury is, you may have to wait before you can begin regular exercise again – usually one to three days. However, gentle stretching and light exercise can aid with healing.     

Physiotherapy Lead at Benenden Hospital, Jordan Dehara, says: “It’s beneficial to gently move the affected limb as pain allows, but avoid any overloading by reducing anything that could make your injuries worse, such as certain movements, tasks and positions.”  

Head to physiotherapy

You may associate physiotherapy with athletes, but this holistic practice can be used to treat a variety of conditions. These include musculoskeletal issues, overuse injuries, or even rehabilitation after operations or surgery such as hip or knee replacements.    

“Physiotherapy uses a biopsychosocial approach, which means looking at every factor that can affect your recovery,” Jordan explains. “Factors include physical health, past medical history, mental health, expectations, stress and coping strategies. This can then provide a bespoke programme and individualised advice appropriate to your needs.”    

Research suggests that physiotherapy significantly improves rehabilitation and recovery, and helps prevent further injury. “Physiotherapy is provided by specially trained and regulated practitioners who can provide a clinical impression through asking questions about the injury and assessing the affected areas using special tests,” Jordan continues. “Your physiotherapist will adopt a patient-centred approach, which means you will have an active role in your treatment programme to ensure optimal recovery.”  

Keep a healthy lifestyle

While it may be tempting to overindulge in takeaways and ready meals when you’re healing from an injury, Jordan recommends maintaining a healthy, balanced diet to aid the healing process. “It’s also a good idea to quit smoking and minimise alcohol consumption, as this can delay your recovery process,” he says.    

Jordan also recommends maintaining plenty of social contact with loved ones for support. Check out our article on staying connected for inspiration.  

Sleep well

Sleep is super important for our health and wellbeing in general, so it’s no surprise that getting plenty of quality sleep during your recovery process is so important. Plus, sleep is really good for your brain, too. “Good mental health and reducing stress levels will reduce pain and make for a quicker recovery time, so do prioritise these things while you’re healing,” advises Jordan.

Seek professional advice

If symptoms are worsening or not showing signs of improvement after two weeks, Jordan recommends speaking with your GP or calling 111 for further advice. Benenden also offers a 24/7 GP line for professional advice at home and allows members to self-refer for physiotherapy through their membership – find out more here.    

You can also take medication as needed to control the pain if this allows for easier movement. Consult with your local pharmacist for more information.  

Ask for help

If you have been injured as a result of someone else, it could be worth speaking to the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).     

APIL is a source of specialist legal support for people who have been injured because of someone else’s negligence. Mike Benner, APIL’s chief executive, says: “This could be when someone has been injured at work, on the road or while receiving medical treatment and the injury could have been avoided. We can help to put injured people in touch with the right professionals to help them.    

“Our Severe Injury Help Hub is a first port of call for injured people and their loved ones in a crisis. The Hub points them in the direction of resources to help with various problems, from what to do about paying rent or a mortgage when someone is incapacitated, to making medical decisions, and helping children to navigate upheaval and emotional stress when someone in the family is severely injured. If an injury is because of negligence, the injured person or their relatives may be able to make a legal claim for compensation to help them put their lives back on track.”    

APIL’s search for a lawyer facility can help people to find the right legal professional for their needs. Search online or call APIL on 0115 943 5400.  

Further reading

Additional support at home

Alongside reablement, staying independent is about having peace of mind that you’re not going to be left cold or in the dark if the heating or electricity fails.

The Priority Services Register (PSR) is an important, free support service which is designed to support those who need a little extra help in the event of interruptions to their gas, water or electricity supply. If you or someone you know has extra communication, access or safety needs, signing up to the PSR will help ensure you or they can access the best possible services at all times, and feel safe and independent at home. 

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