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Does Proper Nutrition Make Physical Therapy More Effective?

Whether you’re a dedicated athlete or a contented couch potato, your diet affects more than just your weight and energy level. People at both ends of the spectrum unknowingly set themselves up for injury and pain by not supplying their bodies with important nutrients and, as a result, many of them end up in our clinic.

Perhaps you’re reading this a tad late and have already sustained a serious injury. Even if you are already injured, diet is still critically important. In fact, if you complete a physical therapy exercise regimen but your diet remains unsatisfactory or even plainly unhealthy, you are likely to end up back in the same spot. However, you may be able to decrease your recovery time, maximize your time spent in physical therapy, and preserve or improve your health thereafter by taking a few easy steps:

  • Keep eating regular meals. This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people become temporarily sedentary after sustaining an injury and stop eating regular meals for fear of gaining weight. While weight gain is a valid concern, caloric deficiency causes your body to lose muscle (not fat) and this may prevent your injury from healing quickly and effectively. If you have suffered a musculoskeletal injury and don’t supply your body with necessary nutrients, you could leave physical therapy weaker, frailer, and more injury-prone than before. This will make you more likely to re-injure yourself and less likely to make a full, timely recovery.
  • Stick with dietary fats. Don’t reach for the marshmallows right away, but don’t eliminate fats either. Good fats, omega-3s in particular, help your body fight against excessive inflammation, which can worsen your injury and extend your recovery time. By sticking with good fats, such as those found in walnuts and almonds, you provide your body with the necessary nutrients to move past the inflammatory phase of your injury and begin repairing the damaged muscles, tissues, bones, etc.
  • Reach for the brightly colored produce. Fruits and vegetables provide your body with important antioxidants and vitamins, which help synthesize the chemical compounds it needs to effectively repair muscle and tissue damage.
  • Beef up your protein intake. Once you move past the inflammation stage of your injury, it’s time to strengthen important muscles and re-learn how to perform important motions. This is when protein becomes critical. In many cases, a sedentary spell results in muscular atrophy and weakness, requiring you to rebuild muscle in order to return to your former level of function. In cases of musculoskeletal injuries, the body often becomes resistant to protein and amino acids, making muscular atrophy and weakness more likely. However, you can combat this by eating a lot of easily digestible protein, such as whey protein and eggs.

Ask a Houston Physical Therapist about Your Nutrition Today

In addition to providing you with the physical therapy expertise and personalized solutions you need, our team at QualCare Rehabilitation can help you identify any lifestyle adjustments you may need to make. We have served thousands of clients and are able to begin addressing your specific needs and injuries right away.

Schedule your consultation at one of our many Houston locations by calling (713) 588-0042 today.