Staying Active Through Injury
Happy New Year! It is often this time of year we are setting goals, and getting started on a new health & fitness plan. But, what if you have a nagging injury? Can you still do physical activity? The answer is almost always YES! This means, you can easily get started on your New Years resolution while rehabbing your injury with your Chiropractor!
We want to always keep in mind to avoid painful movements, as pain (above 2-3/10 pain) can indicate we could be doing more harm than good. But, staying below this threshold, or avoiding pain altogether is perfectly safe and in fact can help you recover from injury faster !
Modifying activities can have a bit of a bad reputation, but it really shouldn't! Modifying doesn't mean you aren't capable or any less strong, they actually mean you are being smart and working at a level that is most appropriate for building muscle and strength! Modifications to activities exist for a reason, and just because you need to modify now doesn't mean you will always need to modify.
For example, if squatting with a barbell causes you knee pain, but you can do walking lunges or body weight squats painfree, for now avoid the barbell squat, but lunge and body weight squat to your heart's content! Your Chiropractor should prescribe you strengthening exercises to strengthen relevant areas to allow you to squat with a barbell down the road- if you so please!
Another example of this is having pain in the shoulder while doing a dumbbell overhead press. Can you still work out your upper body? Yes! Simply avoid the dumbbell overhead press for now! Instead, work out the shoulder muscles in ways that don't aggravate your symptoms, perform exercises prescribed by your Chiropractor to help stabilize the shoulder, and you should be able to return to dumbbell overhead press shortly!
Modifying movements is one way to modify, as demonstrated above. Another way to modify is to reduce distance or time of an activity. For example, if you are a runner and you notice that you can run 20 minutes without pain in the IT band, but once you hit the 30 minute mark you notice your IT band starts to hurt. In an effort to avoid pain, for the short term stick to a 20 minute run, and work diligently on your rehab exercises. The rehab exercises should strengthen the appropriate muscles to allow you to return to a 30 minute run eventually.
The moral of the story? Yes, you can work out and remain active while injured. You just need to be mindful of what is causing you pain, and work to avoid scenarios that would be pain provoking. While avoiding painful movements, ensuring you are diligent in seeking care from your Chiropractor, and working on your prescribed rehab exercises is important to facilitate a faster recovery and allow you to return to your desired movements pain free!
Dr. Elaine Screaton (DC, BSc) is a Chiropractor in NW Calgary, currently practicing at Synergea Family Health Centre in Calgary, AB.