Many of you know that I’ve been coping with a pulled hip flexor for the past couple of weeks. My MMA coach didn’t believe that I would do what was necessary to recover from my injury. He said, “Fighters don’t know when or how to take it easy.” He’s wrong about me though. My dojo depends on me too much for me to be laid up by an injury. So I’m on a strict recovery program set out by my Jiu-jitsu student who is a doctor.
Conventional wisdom when it came to muscle and joint recovery used to be RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). But recently it has been found that immobilizing an injury (unless it’s a fracture, torn muscle or your doctor advises you to) shuts the muscle down and restricts blood flow. Instead, modern medical research is suggesting that moving the muscle and encouraging blood flow to oxygenate the area and flush out metabolic waste helps you heal faster. Now many doctors are saying that RICE should be used only for the first 24-48 hours of the injury after which MICE should be used. In this acronym, “movement” replaces “rest.”
In my case, my student/ doctor recommended that I bike 20-40 minutes a day. I also did some gentle strengthening and stretching exercises specific to the hip flexor. Biking replaced my morning yoga work-outs since I didn’t want to accidentally do any stretches that would aggravate my injury. Then after the whole routine, I would ice my hip flexor. I was also told to avoid grappling, breakfalls and any other high-risk activities. My coach focused my training on other skills and strengthening exercises like boxing, and a variety of upper strength development drills (i.e. hand stands, push-ups, neck raises, etc).
Now, after two weeks I’m not feeling pain any more, though I still have to be careful. This is when the injury is most likely to be re-injured, because it feels fine, even though it’s still in a weakened state. So still no grappling, etc. but I’m going to try going for a gentle walk-run work-out on Sunday.
I’ll be so happy when the injury is fully recovered and I can go back to my usual training regime.