Take Ibuprofen and the Month Off… Say what?!?!
The below article is from our resident personal trainer, Richard Stent . As I have said for a long time, virtually EVERY person who enters our doors has an underlying injury, adhesion, functional movement limitations, or other dysfunction. Whether they know it or not, it’s there, under the surface. When pain or injury arises, a person may blame it on the training, when in fact, the training simply amplified the underlying issue and brought it to the surface. It is exceedingly rare that an injury just “happens” when training. The “good news” of this, when you discover you have an underlying issue, there are things which you can learn from the experience. – check out this archived article I wrote on this topic last September (click . If cared for properly, patiently, and skillfully, you can not only heal from the injury you can come back stronger than before and you don’t have to be limited in your performance or your capacity. The other good news is that you don’t have to take time off from your training or use it as an excuse to sit on your butt!
“Take Ibuprofen every day for a month, and make sure you lay off all training as well.” –
Those dreaded, and too often heard, words from your doctor.
Nothing you will read here is new – the suggestions have been well researched, well tried and successfully tested and been around since time began. Yet they are not often put into practice. Your body has the amazing ability to heal itself, however it needs your brain and your cooperation to help in the process. If you train on a regular basis and often train with intensity, you may be one big injury waiting to happen. It may be the most minute tear, an underlying adhesion, something that at present you are unaware of. Or, it may be something serious and you are either saying, “I am going to train through the pain even if it kills me”. Or, “more training will make this stronger, and the pain will go away.”
It seems that many people wait until an injury is chronic (I have several of those T- shirts), for fear of losing conditioning, and/or being considered soft, especially to yourself. Ultimately this may land you in the doctor’s waiting room, and eventually hear those awful words “Take Ibuprofen every day for a month and make sure you lay off all training as well”. Followed by, “we may need to operate.” Bang! Training comes to a grinding halt. For others, rather than hearing these words from a health care professional, they self diagnose and decide it was the training that caused the pain and so they stop all training rather than getting to the root of the issue.
Simply stated, your body is built to be mobile, and does not like to be static unnecessarily. Ever been on a loooong non-stop flight? You cannot stop to get out because you are jammed in the middle of the row! How do you feel at your destination? AWFUL!! A long car trip is the same, or seated at your office desk all day. You HAVE to get up and move at regular intervals – do this and feel the difference!
Just as basic and often overlooked by the layman and the doctor, there are many ways to train when carrying an injury. Just use common sense (that’s the brain part!) Do the research on the internet yourself, or liaise with others who have gone through the same thing, or use the services of someone who knows what they are doing and is as keen as you are to keep you functioning as best as possible until you heal.
Your body is a vigorous, powerful machine when it is moving, working, and training. When you stop taxing and stimulating the body (using the brain again, as in “sensible” work), the result is a catabolic state (meaning a state of breaking down muscle or deterioration of tissue), and that inured area simply gets weaker. When you proceed with any form of training, movement, or lifting, you continue to release anabolic hormones into your body which helps to build the ENTIRE body, not just the muscles trained. For example, if you have a shoulder injury, yet continue to train with your non-injured arm, train your legs, train your core, train your aerobic systems, train your mobility, you release testosterone, growth hormone, and a host of other beneficial hormones into your blood stream and the training increases blood flow throughout your body. These anabolic hormones do not just impact the cells of body parts trained, they impact EVERY cell in your body which helps to facilitate healing, thus expediting recovery of the injured area. When you do this in conjunction with flooding the cells with high quality nutrition and you are paving the way for natural healing and you are not becoming de-conditioned in the process.
Personally, I suffer from permanently irritated shoulders, and the same with both elbows. My range of motion is limited, and thus my strength is also limited. So, I manage my type of training on a daily basis, and am well versed in knowing an “OK” pain from a “NO NO” pain. The difference is night and day. A “NO NO” pain means you are prolonging healing and that must be avoided at all costs. Often, when left to our own devices, those of us who love to train will continually go into the “NO NO” pain zone and become our own worst enemies. This is where having the guidance of a coach and strictly following that guidance pays off. Look at the number of professional athletes who come back to the top of their sport as the result of proper healing and rehabilitation! You think they continued to inflict the “NO NO” pain on the injury while they were in rehab? Not when their career depends on it! So why is it we far too often continue to train through the pain or do the opposite and become sedentary awaiting a miracle cure or for the pain to go away?
I also have plenty of empathy for my clients who may have a problem. This has lead to a ton of personal research on how to train around a specific injury. A close to home story: one of my regular clients at PR client was preparing for shoulder surgery. My training for that client was simple – find upper body exercises which caused NO pain and really go hard on the lower body. It worked like a charm, and that client had the operation in really good condition which paved the way for an easier recovery. Another long term client of mine suffered a broken elbow (at age 65), had the operation, and was back training in a matter of weeks, as opposed to “resting”. We applied the same theory, and the broken elbow mended incredibly quickly, along with the rapid return of strength.
So remember, you do not have to be laid up with an injury, nor do you have to damage yourself further by trying to hammer that injury. The next time you are experiencing any sort of pain or what may be an injury, be sure to consult with the coaches at PR Fitness and seek the counsel of your heath care professional. Consider a visit with “Dr. J” at Indianapolis Sport and Spine. If you are given rehab exercises and allowed to continue with some sort of training, I can work with you to ensure you are doing them properly, train the rest of your body that can be trained and keep you on the right track. You will find that this time will be better spent staying active and it will truly speed up the healing process.
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