I hurt my ankle fairly badly last Saturday. A bunch of us from 39 Minute Workout went to a mud run west of Frederick. We were all rounding the first turn, I'm running in a pack of people, then POW! I felt a pop in my ankle and I dropped like a ton of bricks. I had landed full force on the side of a dirt ledge.
Pulled my body over to the side of the road. Pull off the shoe. The pain increases for the first few minutes, and then a golf ball sized welt grows. I knew it was a bad one because of how bad hurt and how quickly it swelled.
Head down...more annoyed I couldn't run with my friends than anything...I was driven back to the center to sit and wait.
Two days passed and it was not good. The swelling continued, it hurt like hell when I didn't have a wrap on it, and it was too swollen to fit anything but my boot.
So here's where I'm different than a lot of people I meet. And I think this mentality is useful for you if you've been injured or if you're struggling through an injury right now.
There's a VERY conservative approach to injuries in our culture I've found. It's the run to the doc and see what he says mentality. (and to cover my butt, if you think you're truly injured that's a great thing to do). But where I would challenge you is your approach to pain and injury.
The conservative approach says, if there's pain you better stop doing what you're doing. If your back hurts, that exercise is bad for you. If you've got an injury, you better not work out. If you've had an old injury, you shouldn't do anything that makes you feel it again.
And as an expert in the field of health and fitness, you know what I say to that??? BAH HUMBUG!
That mentality has kept far too many people on the couch. I've got a question. Is it more dangerous to run from pain and stop working out, or to learn about it, work through it, create a plan with a trainer who can help, and build your body back stronger the second time?
Obviously it's the later.
So here's how I would re-frame an injury.
1) Are you hurt of injured? If you're injured, you've torn something, slipped a disk, etc. If you're hurt, then the doc says something like, maybe it's arthritis, or you have pain and no clear diagnosis. In either case, there's still a strategy to get through it. The only difference is that an injury may require treatment or surgery.
2) What CAN you do and what CAN'T you do while you're struggling through the pain. My ankle is still hurt, but I was able to do deadlifts and presses today with no issue. There's no way I can squat, jump or swing, so I'm working with what I've got. But I didn't wait until I was 100% because I need to work out.
3) How can you re-build function in that area of pain or injury so that you get back to or even better than before? You probably can't answer this one alone, but you can use your trainer to learn that path. I've worked with hundreds of people at this point with neck, back, shoulder, knee, and other pain. Each one has it's own set of circumstances. And with every client who's willing to be courageous and learn from the pain/injury, there's always a strategy for recovery.
MOST of the time, you were injured or you have pain because of one of two things. 1) You lacked strength- the most common one being back injuries that come from a weak core 9 times out of 10. 2) You lacked mobility- meaning a set of muscles are tight and inflexible so the injured area was forced into a movement it didn't like.
In either case, stopping exercise does literally nothing to help you. Sure you may stop having pain that next week, but you haven't fixed the issue.
It all comes down to your mentality. So if you're hurt or injured right now, what are you going to do to recover? Are you going to use it as an excuse to stop working out, or will you trust your trainer and work through it together? If you chose the later, that's what a good trainer or P.T. can help you with.
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