With so many treatment options available, not to mention the various opinions of doctors, trainers, chiropractors, massage therapists, friends, family, and even fans at your games, it may feel almost impossible to make the right decisions when it comes to your injury treatment. There are a lot of opinions out there and even more misconceptions, many of which you’ve probably taken as fact.

These five injury treatment mistakes are made every single day around the world causing longer rehabilitation time, unnecessary pain, and even re-injury. Don’t join that statistic. Avoid these mistakes!

Only using R.I.C.E.

We haven’t exactly been quiet about our feelings toward the overuse and exaggerated need for the R.I.C.E. injury treatment method. As we’ve said before, there is a time and a place for rest, ice, compression, and elevation, but it’s at the very onset of the injury. Once the swelling of your injury has subsided, continuing to use the R.I.C.E. method actually hinders your injury recovery. Failing to use the injured area (rest), ice, compression, and elevating the injured area are all great tools to eliminate swelling by limiting blood flow to the injured area, but circulation is vital to your recovery. If you’re only focused on using R.I.C.E., you’re extending the time it will take to recover.

Move on from R.I.C.E. immediately after swelling has gone down.

Alternating heat and ice

Another major misconception is that you should alternate heat and ice. These two items have contradictory purposes in the recovery of an injury and, as we just mentioned, ice actually slows down your injury recovery progress because it severely limits circulation.

Ice should ONLY be used immediately following an injury until swelling is gone. Once the swelling is gone, focus on utilizing heat and other tools to improve circulation to help eliminate toxins and help your injured muscle or joint heal.

Not hydrating

Hydration is vital in all parts of being an athlete, and it’s no different when it comes to treating your injury. Our muscles are actually 79% water and without keeping them properly hydrated, they cannot function or repair themselves properly. Hydration is vital in the healing process because it helps you to eliminate the toxins and waste that have built up due to the trauma related to your injury.

As soon as an injury occurs, there are toxins, waste, and even scar tissue that begin to form. This is why we must rely on our circulation and hydration to help to eliminate these things. So, drink up!

PRO TIP: Be sure to focus on water instead of sugary sodas, energy drinks, or too many sports drinks.

Pushing through the pain

Most of us grew up with the “rub some dirt on it” mentality and pushing through the pain was just a part of life. You weren’t “strong” if you didn’t push through injury to continue playing. Well, this mentality, while it sounds strong, masculine, and courageous, actually does much more damage. Pushing through the pain now may mean missing much more substantial time and even forcing surgery later. Listen to your body and don’t let peer pressure push you into a much worse injury.

This also applies to your recovery stretching and strength training. Again, listen to your body. If you begin to have pain in any stretch or exercise, stop or lower your output. The last thing that you want to do is to re-injure the muscle that you’re training to recover.

Relying only on self diagnosis

We’re all guilty of it. We think we know exactly what is wrong or, even worse, we use a Google search or WebMD to diagnose our injury. While it’s true that you do know your body best, but unless you’re a doctor, trainer or injury specialist, you likely aren’t diagnosing your injury or the severity of your injury accurately. Without proper diagnosis, you can’t accurately treat your injury.

While a doctor visit may not be something that you want to do, there are other options to help diagnose the severity of your injury and get recommendations on how you can recover. One great resource is the QiVantage Injury Specialist team. We have helped thousands of athletes from all different sports and activity levels identify their injuries and best course of treatment with our FREE Injury Assessment! Get yours today! There’s no need to go it alone!