TAKE SOME PANADOL AND REST FOR 4 WEEKS…
Said every GP ever when you visited them for a soft tissue injury.
Sure, that’ll fix it.
Take away the pain temporarily. Tick.
Rest the injured area to allow recovery. Tick.
Return with a weaker, less stable, less active muscle or ligament increasing the risk of re-injuring said area. Cross.
Return slightly de-conditioned which has sent your progress a few steps backwards. Cross.
Retur… possibly not return for longer due to demotivation as a result of the injury killing your hot streak and helping you re-find your love for the couch… aka the thing that got you into this de-conditioned pre-gym going and pre-healthy eating state in the first place. BIG CROSS.
Step 1. If you are in any way unsure what is wrong, go see a PHYSIO. NOT a GP. GP’s identify illnesses and prescribe medication… that’s about it… they do not specialise in soft tissue injuries. Go to a physio. If your physio prescribes painkillers and couch rest and doesn’t give you any exercises or guidance on what to do to help it improve… refuse to pay and go find a better physio.
As upsetting as an injury can be, there is ALWAYS something you can do to not only avoid derailment, but actually thrive in areas that may need some extra work.
- Modifying your movements to continue to work on the injured area to strengthen and mobilising it.
So often a soft tissue injury comes as a result of an area that is weak in proportion to the surrounding muscles, the surrounding muscles therefore take control of that area and the weak muscle continues to work quite poorly. This is why completing your rehab exercises is so damn important and why your physio get pissed that you haven’t been doing them. Because guess what… once you’ve healed up, you are now highly prone to doing it again. If we work on that injured area we will end up stronger than ever and far far less likely to re-injure it.
- Avoiding the injured area for a short period of time, but working on other areas instead.
Re-focussing your goals on some things you can do can become a brilliant opportunity to hone in on a deficiency or skill that needs improvement. Sometimes we have too many choices of what it actually is we want to achieve… Heavier squat, pull-ups, handstands, improved running etc etc… that we end up picking none! An injury does provide you the opportunity to narrow that often overwhelming focus and work on an area you may have been avoiding or depriving. Eg, when I pulled my hamstring last month I increased my focus on upper body and midline strength. Which is actually my weaker two areas. Win!
Let’s use a knee injury for example..
Okay so we clearly do not want to aggravate or cause any further damage to your knee. Your GOOD physio should give you some do’s and don’t here. But we will most likely have to modify or temporarily cease a small handful of exercises including squats, lunges, jumping, skipping and running… and possible small hip and knee extension exercises if it is quite bad, ie. push press… that is about it.
That certainly doesn’t mean we should avoid all leg exercises:
- Box squats
- Step ups
- Rowing (maybe)
These are all potential options that will help you rebuild strength and keep you moving.
Add in these:
- Quad, Hip, Adductor, Hamstring stretching and mobility
- Massage/Dry Needling/Spa/Hot & Cold Therapy/Muscle Stimulation Therapy
- Someone to talk to about what you’re dealing with
And there you have it, the perfect pathway to rehabilitation without missing out on training, strength improvement of the affected area, successful improvement of an unrelated skill and 0 loss in motivation!
That wasn’t so bad hey!?
Please don’t ever use an injury as an excuse for stopping the good roll you are on. It is an easy way out.
You know those videos of amputees doing clean and jerks, playing basketball, swimming… yeh the ones where the heading says ‘What’s Your Excuse?’.
They are awesome videos. All of those videos are littered with people posting how ‘amazing’ and ‘talented’ these people are.
It’s not talent, it’s not amazing. Well… it is pretty damn awesome, but these people wouldn’t consider themselves ‘out of this world’ for what they are achieving. They are just people making something happen because they want it so badly, because they are making most of what they have, because they don’t use ANYTHING as an excuse to stop them from achieving what they want.
So if you want fat loss, if you want a 160kg squat, if you want to make the CrossFit Games, your knee injury is not a worthy excuse for throwing in the towel.
If that sounds like a lot to take in and you are a bit unsure of some of the above tips mentioned… Not a worry, our coaches are all very well equipped to help you, and we bloody enjoy doing it. You and your injury are NEVER a burden. Please always feel free to ask for as much help as you need. There is always a way and we will always work to find that way with you.
We’ve all had injuries and niggles from our own sports, and they suck. They get us down. But you just can not let it beat you.
PS – Our online Mobility course on The Box Bag is live! Stay tuned as it will directly help those dealing with any ongoing injuries or niggles. It will be free for Cranbourne members, and will be made available to non-members for a super affordable fee.
For now, you can experience some of our content for free with our 101 course. You can also jump on our AMAZING Nutrition Course for only $12 p/m. This course WILL ensure you crush it.