Treating injuries. Are you hurting right now?
As a corrective exercise guy, I try to help my clients fix aches and pains before they turn into major injuries.
Staying injury free is a major component in staying motivated and the biggest to getting in shape. As Woody Allen said, “80% of success is showing up.”
My experience has been that most people drop out of any given activity due to injury and never go back because they are scared of getting hurt again.
So let’s get this out of the way.
5 Things You Need to Know about pain and injuries.
1. Everybody gets injured at one point or another. It is a part of life.
Having said that, some activities are riskier than others but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t do them. Just be smart.
2. Active people will have less aches and pains than sedentary people.
True, we may get muscle soreness from workouts but these are temporary after-effects of the training. Inactive people tend to have chronic daily pain. Our stuff is easy to control and manage while chronic pain is difficult to treat.
3. Active people will tend to have temporary issues while sedentary people develop lifelong issues such as diabetes and heart issues.
Working out fine tunes the body and makes it perform optimally.
4. For an athlete, getting injured is a way of learning and progressing.
Getting injured either means you did something wrong in the moment or you have been doing something wrong for a while and your body can’t take it anymore.
This is a critical point. Learn from injuries.
5. If you ever get injured, figure out why it happened and make corrections.
Smart people learn to realize the difference between aches and pains and injury. You can learn to treat niggles and tweaks so they don’t become full blown injuries.
Here is where this post gets controversial.
The biggest mistake people in dealing with injuries is going to the wrong professional.
How do you know? You spend a ton of money and you don’t get healed.
In my opinion, it is always better to learn how to take care of the little things before they get out of control.
Know yourself and treat yourself.
Yes, this takes time and yes, this is a learned skill but it is priceless. Learning how to fix injuries on the fly is invaluable.
But what if things really blow up?
Take running for example. We participate in a sport with a high injury rate. depending on who you talk to 25% to 50% of all runners get injured every year. Taken at face value, that is a staggering statistic. I had calf problems last year that bugged me all summer and fall. If you look at the physics you can see why the risk of injury is so big.
At 245 pound, I land with a force 4-6 times my weight each step. 1,000 plus pounds landing on a each foot, 1,500 steps each mile for 25 miles week. you can see how small mistakes escalate into major ones.
For some, that is proof I shouldn’t be running.
For me, that is proof I need to run with better technique.
We were meant to run. You either believe that or you don’t.
If you believe it, you are looking at history.
If you don’t believe it, you are an orthotic salesman.
Evolution does not favor the weak or bad mechanical designs,. Just the opposite. The foot is a marvel of nature. You just probably have weak feet and poor running mechanics. Again, that is for another post.
Back to dealing with injuries, who should you see when dealing with an injury?
Family Doctors and Traditional medicine.
- They practice medicine and can refer you to specialists, testing or Physical therapists.
- They have to abide by a code of conduct and have established methods of treatment.
- They can write prescriptions.
- The constant thought of malpractice makes most Doctors very conservative in what they will do and what they won’t.
- Oftentimes they are behind the times with new treatments.
- You may have to wait to get in, then wait for a specialist. Very time consuming.
- Modern medicine treats the effect rather than the cause.
- There are amazing Doctors out the who are athletes themselves and can be invaluable to you.
- Find a specialist that treats athletes.
This is my favorite. If you can’t foam roll, smash or stretch your injured area, go to a good masseuse. No, I am not talking a place where they put cucumbers on your eyes and play spa music while they give you a glorified back rub. I am talking about a deep tissue specialist who can go in and fix problems.
- Most joint aches and pains are muscle related and can be fixed by a massage.
- A good masseuse can feel the muscle knots and direct treatment.
- They treat the cause of the pain instead of covering it up.
- Most injuries can be fixed in a couple of visits, then an occasional maintenance session.
- It can be painful.
- You need to find the right person.
- The issue may come back if you don’t work on strength, flexibility and mobility.
- There are many types of massages. Find the masseuse who is knowledgeable and gives you results, not back rubs.
I know there are good ones out there….I just don’t know of any. So this may be a little biased but here goes. I am looking for some good ones to network with and share ideas. So if you are out there, contact me.
- Instant relief.
- Usually you can be seen quickly.
- Some Chiros have different techniques to use that don’t involve joint manipulation that are very effective.
- Sometimes it can only be a temporary fix.
- Some Chiros have dubious qualifications and get into some really wacky techniques.
- I just don’t agree with the idea of forcing joints into place.
- Some Chiros truly want to help you, others want to put you on a monthly payment plan. Beware of the difference.
Naturopathic and Holistic Medicine
Some people swear by it. I have never had any luck with it but that doesn’t mean it isn’t effective. Logically it makes a lot of sense but just like with Chiropractors you run the gamut between the serious professional and the wack-a-doo.
- More holistic and in tune with nature.
- Natural remedies and methods. Fewer side effects.
- It may work for some people.
- The science behind it goes from proven to unproven to weird.
- Practitioners have various degrees of training and education.
- Very dependent on the quality of the practitioner.
- Any regulation?
You may have to go by gut feel. Anytime you are tying in the physical with the spiritual the waters tend to get a little murky.
You know I had to throw this in.
- Look for someone who is a Corrective Exercise specialist or has a degree in kinesiology or physical therapy.
- They can integrate a rehab program into your workout.
- Honest trainers will refer you out if the injury is too severe.
- Some trainers think they can treat anything.
- Not licensed to diagnose injuries.
- No regulation.
Treating injuries is an art and a science. Let’s face it, everyone has had different experiences with injuries and this represents my opinion. Your experiences could be very different and that is why medicine is an art.