Sunday, December 29, 2013
After you've recovered from an injury you will find that there is still a way to go before you get completely back to normal. If you've had a damaged spine, damaged limbs or another kind of bone, joint or muscle problem, then you will probably be advised by the doctors to try and strengthen the damaged body parts in order to give the area more support and to help retrain the muscle around it that may have wasted away from lack of use. It's crucial that you do this in order to avoid further injure that can result from muscle imbalance, and to make sure that you recover as quickly as possible. At the same time though, it can also be quite difficult – using your weakened limbs is hardly easy when there's barely enough muscle to lift then and you are going to be weary of causing yourself pain or re-damaging the damaged area.
Fortunately though there are a few ways around this problem, and a number of gadgets and gizmos that can help you in your aim. Here we will look at some of the technology that can help you retrain your muscles and get back the strength and definition that you may have lost.
Electric Muscle Stimulators
License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://openclipart.org/image/300px/svg_to_png/185251/powerfist.png
Electric muscle stimulators work by generating lots of tiny little electric shocks delivered through moistened pads that you strap to your various body parts. The idea of this is to send signals to your muscle fibres (all our cells communicate through electrical impulses) which will then cause them to fire resulting in your muscles tensing. Since it's the act of tensing that trains your muscles, this is a great way to grow them without actually training and can help you to firm them up while you're not actually lifting weights or running on the treadmill.
Of course these machines aren't really as good as actually exercising – otherwise everyone would use them and everyone would be massively ripped – but they are a great alternative while you're in recovery.
If you have a back injury and you're being encouraged to move around, then you may be in need of some kind of analgesic to make your activities less painful and more bearable. Tens machines can provide just that, and work in the same way as the above electrical pads by sending jolts of electricity through your skin.
Only the difference here is that this time you're wearing the pads on your back around the sciatic nerve, and the idea is to stimulate the surrounding tissue to create a tingling sensation. This can act as 'noise' which disrupts the feeling of pain coming from the nerves in that area. The machines are even used by women giving birth, which should give you an idea of how useful they can be.
A power ball is a small plastic ball with a wheel inside that spins around when you shake your arm in the correct motion. This wheel inside is actually a gyroscope which means it's capable of exerting great amounts of pressure on your wrist while you shake it – though not so much as to aggravate any injuries. It’s a great way to build up strength in your arms and potentially to rehabilitate a broken forearm or wrist – but do check with your doctor before trying this one in case you're risking exacerbating the problem.
Recumbent Stationary Bike
Stationary bicycles are great machines for working out the muscles in your legs and burning calories by letting you do CV. They create zero impact, meaning they won't hurt your joints, and they don't require any space if you have on in your home.
The problem with most bikes though is that they require you place weight on your legs and spine which can be a problem if you have an injury. The recumbent bike gets around this by allowing you to lie back and cycle with just your legs. It's highly effective for training muscle without placing any strain on your various bodyparts.
Jack Turner is an employee at Freedom Lift Systems , leading providers of handicap lift systems. He is very passionate about the arts and visits art galleries and museums on weekends.