Have you been exercising more since the weather has calmed down in DC? Are you feeling some more discomfort and don't know why?
Have you been told that you just need to rest for a week and then re-start exercising again?
One of the most common questions we get asked at an Initial Assessment is: How Can I Still Exercise Around The Pain?
Well today, I want to clear it all up for you. So let’s jump in.
Rest May Seem Like A Good Idea…
For a lot of active people who enjoy exercises and keeping fit, having pain is frustrating. You might be training for a race or a competition and the pain is stopping your progress. For others exercise is the only way to relieve the daily stresses from working on the Hill, and the injuring stops you from achieving this relief.
Everybody has an opinion on what is best to do after an injury. Some say you should rest, others say continue the activity until the pain stops.
It may seem like a good idea to the area rest... but all this will do is decrease your fitness and strength. It will then make it even harder to return to your activity once you're able to get back!
Rest and recovery isn't always a bad thing. When you've been training hard, small pain are a way your body is telling you to slow down and take some time to recover. If this is the case, you should listen to your body and take a few days off to recharge. Prolonged rest, on the other hand, can be bad for progress if you are trying to rehab an injury.
What You Really Want Is…
In an ideal world you would stay strong and fit while rehabbing any areas that need work with alternative workouts.
There are 2 things to understand.
1) Load/activity - how much load that goes into your body
2) Capacity - how much load your body can take.
With injury, load is greater than the capacity of the muscle or tissue. This can be due to trauma (like falling on an outstretched hand and breaking your wrist).
It can also be due to an over use injury. When we increase the amount of activity, you increase the level of load going into the body. If this spikes too quickly or too frequently, the muscles/tissues wont' have the capacity to manage the load. And there's your injury.
If there has been no spike in activity, but you've been sleeping less or more stressed at work or recovering from illness... this will decrease your capacity. This lowered capacity will make you more prone to injury.
So What Can You Do About It?
Do you rest? Do you keep working out?
In essence, you want to rest enough so that you can get back reduce your overall load and then build back up. You do want to be careful with how long you rest and how quickly you build back up to normal training.
When you rest from an injury, your activity/load tolerance decreases. This will initially help ease your symptoms... but your capacity will also decrease!
Don't get caught in this trap! Your symptoms will have settled down and you'll want to get straight back to normal training. If your load tolerance AND your capacity goes down... you'll put yourself in a scenario where your capacity gets exceeded again by an even smaller amount of load. This is the "I got injured doing something that used to be really easy" scenario.
The best way to prevent this is to try and keep your capacity nice and high by doing other pain-free activities. By doing this, you stay strong and fit while we address the problem. If you have a workout and one exercise is painful, find an alternative exercise that works the same muscle but is pain free!
Stay True To Your Treatment Plan!
One of the main things we warn patients during their initial assessment is to be cautious at the half way point. You'll be feeling better with much less pain, and you'll be very eager to get back out their and training full tilt.
Trust us. We wouldn't tell you not to play if we didn't think it was a good idea. It's because we've seen it so many times in our patients who go back too soon and then end up at square 1 again.
That is why it's important to get in touch with a therapist so that we can get a rehab plan in place that can fit your lifestyle and goals. We want you back doing the things you love in no time!
Need More Help?
If you want more direction and help on where to go next, if you’re suffering with pain but don’t know where to turn, we’d like to help.
At Capital Sports Medicine we’ve helped thousands of people in the Silver Spring, MD take control, get back to what they love doing, and live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
If you want to start your journey back to a pain-free life today please click here or call 301-328-0186 to book your free 1-1 assessment today.