Recovery Part 2: The Avoidable Injuries


If you missed Part 1 where I address the balance between work and recovery, check it out here!

There is a risk/reward ratio to everything, and injuries can occur whether you are training or not—in fact, in my experience, most injuries occur outside of training while just performing everyday tasks in life.  Some sports and lifestyles are more dangerous than others, and it may surprise many to know that statistically you are much more likely to get hurt on a bicycle or playing football or basketball than you are by exercising and lifting weights.  In fact, gymnastics and weightlifting, the two sports that typically take the brunt of the blame for injuries of people who exercise are statistically both slightly safer than badminton!

However, I didn’t start this blog post to delve into those particular statistics and make an argument about what sport is more or less dangerous.  Instead, I’d like to discuss how and why injuries occur and what to do about them.

How and why do injuries occur?

Sure, sometimes it’s unavoidable—it’s a consequence of living on a planet with gravity.  At some point, something unintended happens and you get injured.  BUT…what I’m most interested in is the subject of preventing things that are preventable.  I think the key to solving the underlying issues as well as avoiding the injury from occurring in the first place is about QUALITY of movement.

Person X has shoulder pain when pressing, especially overhead.  What is a typical prescription given by most health care professionals?  Ice, rest, ibuprofen, maybe a cortisone shot, etc.  Alas, inflammation is reduced and the pain subsides—the problem must be getting better, right?!  They resume a similar sort of activity and, before you know it, the pain is back.  Enter the roller coaster of pain and discomfort followed by short bouts of temporary relief.

Perhaps the pain in Person X’s shoulder is caused by inflammation which stems from an impinged shoulder as a result of the person’s lifestyle, training history, posture, and/or program design.  Given a proper assessment of the individual in all these areas, a good coach should be able to identify and begin addressing the cause.

I’m not suggesting that health care professionals don’t do their jobs well, but I am suggesting that everyone has a scope of practice, and while a medical doctor may specialize in managing disease, people like me are much better at looking at structure and biomechanics.  Don’t confuse treatment for temporary relief (icing, medicating, and injecting our localized inflammation away) with correcting the underlying issue.

If you start looking at the structure of an individual, repeated motor patterns when done improperly means that it’s only WHEN the injury occurs, not IF.  Rather than being reactive in nature and addressing things only after they present pain, let’s be proactive in recognizing structural issues before they become an injury.

Part 3 is going to conclude this broad topic and address what to do when an injury does occur and my thoughts on ultimately preventing them from occurring (or for some of us, recurring).  Feedback and comments are always welcome!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you all at the gym

RLTW <1>

—Coach Phil


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