Dr Mike T Nelson

How to recover from an injury in record time

publishedabout 2 months ago
10 min read

On If you missed my newsletter yesterday, go HERE for the update on how I tweaked my low back.

First off, thank you so much for all the kind words. Turns out I am not the only person who has done this to themselves. Much appreciate all the responses.

Today I am going ballZ deep into the interventions I am doing to give you some options if you have a minor tweak.

Again, each person will be different. Step 1 if you really foobard yourseld is to go see a doc.

Get it checked out!

Do not pass GO and collect $200.

Shout out to my buddy Steven Horney, DPT at Integrated Health Sciences in NY for the chat today. If you are in this area and need help, hit him up!

Strap on your crash helmet and lube up the slide as we are going head first down the nerd chute hard. You have been warned!

Biomech Interventions

I’ll have a podcast coming up on this with Katie Dabrowski, DPT soon where we go in-depth on it, but for me, step 1 is determine what is the end point.

Just like with training clients for their goals, what is your goal? It may be to lose 20 lbs, deadlift 405, bench press 315, etc. It does not matter as your goals are your goal.

Healing from an injury is the same.

What is the goal?

To me, a good goal is to do the thing you did when the injury happened successfully. My bias is to do it without any compensations and in time, no fear of re-injury doing it.

This one is simple. Deadlift 275 x 5, double overhand from a higher pick point of 14 inches (the bar is starting higher off the ground).

This will happen in time.

I have zero hesitation that I will do it.

How long- that is always the unknown and I am in no hurry to be an idiot again and rush the process.

If you are a professional getting paid top money for performance, then you can take a few more risks. For most, it is not worth it.

Biomech Methods

My goals is to accumulate as many pain-free reps that are as close to the above position as I can.

For example, yesterday I was able to get to the start position without any load with only a slight amount of pain (1 out of 10) to start the movement.

Again, this is completely unloaded- no bar or weight in my hand, just supporting my upper body weight in the start position.

Over time I will add reps of just bodyweight and then top and bottom position work.

Yesterday I did those on a 45 degree back extension – the top was a supported version using my hands to support my body, and the bottom position was fine so I went up about 1 inch. I did 30 sec isometrics in those positions also without any pain.

My progression is to do a full range of motion 45 degree back extension, add reps, then slowly add load.

Outside of the deadlift, this will be my main testing exercise.

And it goes without saying that I am still training per usual. I had to modify my goals a bit for now; but there are a ton of exercises I can do without pain to still make progress to my goals. I did a review of a couple in my IG stories yesterday.

Biochemical Interventions

The normal advice about nutrition matters- eat more protein, some carbs to fuel training, some fat, mostly whole foods and lots of micronutrients. All the stuff I cover in detail in the Flex Diet Cert.

I have opted to actually push up my calories a bit more.

Yes, that means I will probably gain a bit of fat. Oh my!

Remember that tissue healing takes energy and your body is very reluctant to pull that energy from fat stores.

How many more calories is hard to pin down since trauma and burns are the common models use (1-7).

I don’t think it is anywhere close to those massive amounts; however my goal is tissue healing in the shortest time possible so I will hedge my bets towards a surplus.

I’ve seen this happen with several clients in the past where they get injured, have to drop their training volume and thus slash and burn their calories super low. It seemed to take forever for them to heal.

My bias is to keep calories a bit higher, even if that results in some fat gain, then once you are back to 100% good to go, you can easily lose what you gained in a few weeks.

Beyond that, I am using more collagen at 15 grams with 50 mg Vit C at 40 -60 min before isometric exercise to help strengthen the soft tissue.

I have no idea if I tweaked up the muscle, soft tissue or both, so I am going to hedge my bets and work on both via collagen for soft tissue and complete proteins for muscle recovery.

For a deep dive on collagen and exercise, listen to the 2 podcasts I did below.

>> Dr Keith Baar << exercise and collagen

>> Dr Shiloah<< collagen

I did add some turmeric to potentially help with healing and the usual creatine monohydrate, fish oil, multi-vite and magnesium.


In the land of a bit woo-woo, here is what I am doing.

My caveat here is that much of data I have is done in mice, rats, some cell cultures, different human population and for different indications.

I am fully aware of the limitations of the research here, but in light of perfectly controlled randomized controlled trials, this is what I am opting to do.

The pubmed ninjas can stuff a sock in it as I still have 30 references, which is 30 more than Biceps Billy has on any one post.

AM Red Light

I’ve been using a red light in the AM for coming up on 3 years now and it seems to help. It has been used for a wide variety of conditions in research (8-17).

Right now I am at 10 minutes total and changed it to only 3 minutes in front and 7 minutes on my back to bias it more towards that area. I have the classic 2 panel from Red Rush. I have no disclosures with them and don’t make a dime from.

Micro-Current: Dolphin

I use the Dolphin micro-current device with their scar protocol around the injury. This is a bit tricky to do on myself, but I am making do since Jodie is out of town.

I’ve used this technology for over 6 years now on myself- my midline scar from open heart surgery in 1978 looks much much better now, and many clients over the years. The research on it is generally positive (18-27)

Nothing to disclose. I had an NDA in the past to better understand the tech, but it was unpaid because I am an idiot with business consulting when I want to understand something in detail as I will take it in the financial shorts to figure it out.

Passive Micro-Current

The other device I am using is the Healy device. This is much easier to use as you can attach sticky pads above and below the area and then set it up via your smart phone on the pain setting.

I will be honest, I don’t understand how the thing works other than it is some form of micro-current. It sounds woo-woo AF; however I’ve used it on other settings and in the past – it seems to work really well.

Maybe its all placebo, but better is better and other than the initial cost, it is easy to apply while I am working. I also use it on clients during in person sessions.

Note-I am an affiliate for them so I do make a bit of coin (honestly I forgot how much) and click HERE if you want more info or just email me.

Hot / Cold

If I had more access to a sauna I would be using it.

Ditto for cold and while I have a converted cold water immersion in my garage, getting in and out of it right now is a bit tricky. Once I am able to do that I will be in there again.

I discuss all the pros and cons of hot / cold in the Phys Flex Cert.

Future: WAEF

Aka When All Else Fails.

I still have more options if this all craps the bed and does not work out. A few of those would be:

-Chiro / Neurology

My go to is Dr Schmoe here at the Functional Neurology Center. I’ve been there many times and did a 1 week intensive in the past for my eye / vestibular function. He and his team are top notch.

-Pulse Centers PEMF

PEMF is pulse electromagnetic frequency stimulation. I know Dr Schmoe just got one at his center. I’ve used them a few times in the past and it really seemed to make a big difference.

Nothing to disclose, but if you are interested in them, ask to speak to Emilio and tell him I sent you. I make nothing off it.


There is some data that some peptides can help speed up healing. I have coordinated this with a few M3 1-1 clients via Dr Ryan Greene. To date I have not done any HRT or peptides (other than Kambo,which i guess is peptides maybe?) Again, that is just my personal choice at this point; but it is not something I am going to rule out.

For more info check out the podcast below I did with Dr Greene and Dr Andy Galpin:

>> Peptides for Healing << w Dr Greene and Dr Galpin

Note- listen to the podcast first before contacting Dr Greene so you have a background on what is going on as it is not just about “hey give me peptides” approach.

Nothing to disclose as I don’t make a dime if you see him; however I trust him 100%

Wow, congrats if you made it this far!

This is the bleeding edge of what I am doing to get back on track in record time.

Hopefully you can pull a few ideas from here to talk with your PT, trainer, coach, doc, etc.

Or save this for future use if you ever need it.

Much love,

Dr Mike

PS- let me know what you thought of this one. If you know someone who has niggly issues, kick this over to them. Thank you!

References (AKA,stuff it Pubmed Ninjas)

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  2. Clark RG. Caloric requirements after operation. The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 1971;30(2):158-65.
  3. Sears B, Perry M, Saha AK. Dietary Technologies to Optimize Healing from Injury-Induced Inflammation. Antiinflamm Antiallergy Agents Med Chem. 2021;20(2):123-31.
  4. Stoner HB. Energy metabolism after injury. J Clin Pathol Suppl (R Coll Pathol). 1970;4:47-55.
  5. Davari M, Moludi J, Asghari Jafarabadi M, Ahmadi-Nejad M, Sanaie S, Aref-Hosseini SR. Impact of clinical factors on calorie and protein intakes during Icu stay in adults trauma patients: results from a prospective observational study. Int J Burns Trauma. 2019;9(3):59-65.
  6. Wischmeyer PE. Tailoring nutrition therapy to illness and recovery. Crit Care. 2017;21(Suppl 3):316.
  7. Moreira E, Burghi G, Manzanares W. Update on metabolism and nutrition therapy in critically ill burn patients. Med Intensiva (Engl Ed). 2018;42(5):306-16.
  8. Salehpour F, Mahmoudi J, Kamari F, Sadigh-Eteghad S, Rasta SH, Hamblin MR. Brain Photobiomodulation Therapy: a Narrative Review. Mol Neurobiol. 2018;55(8):6601-36.
  9. Ram Y, Hadany L. Condition-dependent sex: who does it, when and why? Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2016;371(1706).
  10. Assis L, Manis C, Fernandes KR, Cabral D, Magri A, Veronez S, et al. Investigation of the Comparative Effects of Red and Infrared Laser Therapy on Skeletal Muscle Repair in Diabetic Rats. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2016;95(7):525-34.
  11. de Melo CA, Alves AN, Terena SM, Fernandes KP, Nunes FD, da Silva Dde F, et al. Light-emitting diode therapy increases collagen deposition during the repair process of skeletal muscle. Lasers Med Sci. 2016;31(3):531-8.
  12. Avci P, Gupta A, Sadasivam M, Vecchio D, Pam Z, Pam N, et al. Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2013;32(1):41-52.
  13. Chung H, Dai T, Sharma SK, Huang YY, Carroll JD, Hamblin MR. The nuts and bolts of low-level laser (light) therapy. Ann Biomed Eng. 2012;40(2):516-33.
  14. Souza NHC, Mesquita-Ferrari RA, Rodrigues M, da Silva DFT, Ribeiro BG, Alves AN, et al. Photobiomodulation and different macrophages phenotypes during muscle tissue repair. J Cell Mol Med. 2018;22(10):4922-34.
  15. Mosca RC, Ong AA, Albasha O, Bass K, Arany P. Photobiomodulation Therapy for Wound Care: A Potent, Noninvasive, Photoceutical Approach. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2019;32(4):157-67.
  16. Glass GE. Photobiomodulation: The Clinical Applications of Low-Level Light Therapy. Aesthet Surg J. 2021;41(6):723-38.
  17. Ribeiro BG, Alves AN, Dos Santos LA, Cantero TM, Fernandes KP, Dias Dda S, et al. Red and Infrared Low-Level Laser Therapy Prior to Injury with or without Administration after Injury Modulate Oxidative Stress during the Muscle Repair Process. PloS one. 2016;11(4):e0153618.
  18. Naclerio F, Seijo M, Karsten B, Brooker G, Carbone L, Thirkell J, et al. Effectiveness of combining microcurrent with resistance training in trained males. European journal of applied physiology. 2019;119(11-12):2641-53.
  19. Piras A, Zini L, Trofè A, Campa F, Raffi M. Effects of Acute Microcurrent Electrical Stimulation on Muscle Function and Subsequent Recovery Strategy. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2021;18(9).
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  21. Kwon DR, Park GY. Efficacy of microcurrent therapy in infants with congenital muscular torticollis involving the entire sternocleidomastoid muscle: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Clin Rehabil. 2014;28(10):983-91.
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  24. Ranker A, Husemeyer O, Cabeza-Boeddinghaus N, Mayer-Wagner S, Crispin A, Weigl MB. Microcurrent therapy in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis: could it be more than a placebo effect? A randomized controlled trial. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2020;56(4):459-68.
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Mike T Nelson CISSN, CSCS, MSME, PhD

Associate Professor, Carrick Institute
Owner, Extreme Human Performance, LLC
Editorial Board Member, STRONG Fitness Mag

Mike T Nelson is a PhD and not a physician or registered dietitian. The contents of this email should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem - nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health.