Six Keys to Preventing and Managing Injuries.
Ain’t nothing like health
A patient said that to me a few months back. I laughed but the comment stuck with me. The sexy leg picture is my own. A recent bike race was going all too well until it came to an abrupt end. Now I'm laid up and all I want to do is be able to move - without pain and with full trust that my knee will hold.
Face down in the mud, I moved my toes - knees - hips - fingers - shoulders- head. I could feel all my joints and they all moved. Problems began when I stood. My thigh had severe pain and my knee felt unstable. Performing orthopedic tests solo in the woods isn't exactly the most reliable method, but I had to know if I could keep riding. I tried to continue and failed.
I have experienced far too many injuries over the years to take healthy movement for granted. Finding a professional to aid in the recovery from these injuries has not been easy. To be honest, I trust very few people with my own body. I completely understand when people arrive at my office self-diagnosed, insisting on a specific treatment, apprehensive to allow me to perform a full evaluation.
Injury-proof programs do not exist. On a typical day, I practice and preach six keys to preventing and managing injuries.
Eat Food - Lets not get crazy with trendy diets, fad weight loss promises, or magical supplements. Eat foods that expire, eat foods that are colorful, and eat foods that that you can easily pronounce the name.
Sleep - 6? 8? 10?. This is how we recover and heal. Every person has different needs for length of sleep. Consistency is king.
Breath - You don't have to do yoga or perform serious meditation (although that definitely helps). Take a minute every hour. Be conscious of how you are breathing. Relax the shoulders. Expand the core. Take a few moment every day to relax.
Move Well - I evaluate people daily with movement screens, gait/running analysis, and weightlifting technique. The information I gather is the foundation for reducing pain and increasing performance. Regardless - people know when they move like shit. Address your movement deficiencies before you reinforce poor movement with more resistance.
Be Strong - Durable, resilient, tough……. whatever. Bodyweight, barbells, kettlebells are all solid forms of resistance training.
Stay Active - Combine moving well and improving strength. Repeat often. Challenge yourself. Choose a way to compete against yourself or others. Ironman, Crossfit, chess match, hot-dog eating contest. Competition highlights weaknesses and accentuates strengths. Improve your weaknesses and reinforce your strengths.
In the end, this may not be enough. Stow your pride. Allow help when offered. Seek out a professional to be an objective voice. Take a break. Appreciate imaging, but understand it does not tell your story. Most importantly, do not accept permanent exercise restrictions. Allow yourself to heal. Prepare to move. Truly, there ain’t nothing like health.