Every time you get up off the couch you put yourself at increased risk of injury. Active people must deal with the injuries caused by their active lives. Talk to CrossFitters, runners, dancers or hockey players and you’ll hear about a host of injuries.
They come essentially in 2 flavours: acute or chronic. The acute injuries are caused by accidents. Colliding with a car, dropping a barbell on your foot or tripping over a tree root. Other than being more careful there is not much we can do about these.
It is the chronic overuse injuries which we will address here.
Here are some of the conditions contributing to chronic injuries
Postural Alignment – Past injuries. Poor posture at work. Sitting all day. All of these conditions can produce postural problems like shoulders that slump forward or a hunch in the upper thoracic spine. In and of themselves they can lead to chronic pain. When coupled with activity, these postural imperfections can lead to injury. In many cases pain felt in one joint is referred pain from problems upstream. A stiff neck may be the result of a poorly aligned ankle causing stress through the knee, hip, back and shoulder with every step.
Loaded exercise performed correctly can help correct these alignment issues but a trip to see a specialist like Doc Bones is advisable. Many times they will use manipulation to help correct alignment.
Muscle Tightness/Weakness – Contributing to poor posture is a muscular imbalance such as tight pectoral muscles and weak/lax latissimus dorsi leading to those forward slumped shoulders. Manual manipulation will not correct this. Instead you must stretch the tighter muscles and more importantly strengthen the opposing muscle groups (in this case the lats) in order to develop the strength to maintain good posture.
This is work you must do in the gym. For every hour spent in poor posture you will need to spend time on corrective strengthening for the inactive musculature.
Fascial & Visceral Adhesions – The fascia sheathes the muscles and our internal organs and when this sheathe develops adhesions it can cause mechanical and postural imperfections to arise. Generally a specialist is needed to help work out these adshesions. Doc Bones would use Active Release Therapy, an RMT like Steel can release many of these but when it comes to visceral adhesions I believe Osteopaths are the experts.
Believe it or not my liver used to adhere to my diaghram causing all sorts of body pain. I learned to self correct this recurring problem. The correction is both painful and effective.
Incorrect Movement Patterns – Moving mechanically incorrectly such as squatting loading the knees instead of the hips is a sure way to cause pain. Failure to engage the lats in a pull up will put undue strain on the bicep tendon resulting in pain. Getting coaching around correct movement patterns is essential and then taking care to move with mechanical precision during workouts is critical. If you don’t have time to move correctly, better make time for rehabbing the injuries that will result!
Chronic Systemic Inflammation – When we exercise we are breaking down muscle and connective tissue so that it will repair and grow stronger than before. Except when it doesn’t. When we are inflamed blood flow to damaged tissues is impaired and they cannot recover and heal as quickly. Because of inflammatory pressure they will also hurt more. Sore after a workout? This is why. If you have good postural alignment, possess balanced muscular development, have no tissue adhesions, are moving with correct form and are experiencing chronic, slow to heal injuries then I suspect inflammation is your next battle.
What causes inflammation?
Lack of Sleep
Vegetable Oils (except Olive Oil)
Sugar and Sugar alternatives
Grain fed meats and farmed fish
As you can see there are times when the intervention of a specialist can help prevent or heal chronic injuries but most of the solutions are things that you should be responsible for yourself. And yes, I know that they require time and effort. The alternative is to just put up with the pain. Or stop moving and deal with the pain and suffering that results from an inactive lifestyle.
When it comes to chronic overuse injuries the only long term cure is to adult up and start taking real responsibility for your health. Make the time to live healthy or get used to living wounded!