Sunday, 9 January 2011

Injuries, Rehab and Self-reliance

Firstly, it has been a long time since I last posted. The reasons for this are multiple, but can mainly be traced back to laziness. I hope to put up some more videos of shoulder exercises in the near future and some mobilisations that I have found particularly useful.

One of the most important things I feel I have learned during my training and rehabbing of injuries along the way is the importance of understanding your particular problem and experimenting with exercises, stretches and other methods to try and find what works best for you. As an example, I discovered the other day a mobilisation for the thoracic spine, ribs and scapula that produced more improvement in my overhead position more in a few days then I have seen in months. I haven't been having any particular problems with my shoulders recently, but this has given me improved scapulothoracic mechanics to help avoid problems in the future. This mobilisation was discovered free-of-charge on the brilliant Mobility Wod , which I cannot recommend highly enough.

This has not been an uncommon experience for me. Whenever I have experienced an injury, my initial reaction is to research it; find out what causes it, how it presents and what treatment options exist, etc. The more you educate yourself about an injury, the better placed you are, both physically and mentally, to do something about it. I will then start rehab as soon as possible, experimenting until I find something that helps. It is true that we can injure ourselves badly in the gym, injuries that require expert input. But on the flipside, it is possible to suffer significant discomfort and drop in performance for something that is actually easily remediable. A classic example is a muscular trigger point; when released, the pain disappears dramatically.

This is why it is so important to stretch, to get on the foam roller or hockey balls, to try different exercises and see if you can't fix the problem yourself. To this end, expert input can be very useful. If you have done yourself a mischief, then get some who knows what they are doing to take a look at you. Better still, get several opinions. Just like rehab exercises, no one person or style of therapy holds all the keys to fixing your injuries and what works for one person may be totally disparate from what works with another. Get advice on your posture, strengths and weaknesses, then go work on them yourself, empowered with the new knowledge. Similarly, if what are you doing isn't working, discard it and try something else.

There are a huge number of ways to treat musculoskeletal dysfunction out there. Find what works for you and don't stop searching if you haven't yet found it.

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