Back injuries are painful in many ways. Not only is there the pain of the injury, but there’s also the emotional pain. After receiving a back injury, it can be hard to know what recovery will look like or how you can move forward. Thankfully, if you take the proper steps, a full recovery is usually possible. Here are some tips for effectively recovering from back injuries.

Identify the Type of Injury

There are several different types of back injuries, and the recovery process is different for each one. Even a minor fender bender can cause multiple types of back injuries. Cervical radiculopathy, for example, is caused by bruising and inflammation of nerves in your spine. It differs substantially from, say, spondylolisthesis, which is a fracture that causes your vertebrae to slip out of place or warp around each other. Because these injuries are so different, they require different treatment methods. Talk with your doctor about your injury before you form any treatment plans.

Manage Your Exercise

While it may seem counterintuitive, the prevailing wisdom is that it’s important to return to your daily exercise routine as soon as possible after a back injury. Now, to be clear– that doesn’t mean that you should immediately go back into full exercise mode. Rather, it’s something you should gradually ease into. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about what exercises are appropriate to do given your injury, and try your best to get into them as quickly as possible.

Diet Additions

Back injuries can cause reduced activity and an overall loss of muscle mass. It’s important to counteract this by maintaining a healthy diet. Experts agree that good nutrition can have a positive effect on recovery. According to Dr. Kevin D. Tipton at the University of Stirling, people suffering from various types of injury should “consume a well-balanced diet based on whole, minimally processed foods or ingredients made from whole foods.” You should also consult with your doctor or physical therapist to determine what other dietary changes might be necessary to facilitate your rehabilitation.

Back injuries aren’t easy. They can be painful and difficult, but they’re not impossible to overcome. Your doctor or physical therapist can help guide you along the road to recovery. With the right diet and exercise, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to return to your normal routine with no major issues.