Working Out While Injured
“If it hurts when you run, then just stop running.”
How many of you have seen a medical provider who has suggested something along these lines? It can be challenging to get physical activity advice from someone who doesn’t have the same values as you.
Being active Doctors of Physical Therapy ourselves, we understand that pain and injury sometimes comes with activity. But injuries and pain can also happen outside the gym. Have you ever had a physically inactive relative that “threw their back out” taking out the trash? Injuries happen but the risks of being inactive–deconditioning, muscular atrophy, cardiovascular disease, risk of falls, functional decline–far outweigh the risks of being active.
We understand how frustrating it is to be operating at less than 100% and to not be able to participate in workouts or your sport at your fullest potential. For all of those reasons,one of our highest priorities is to never keep someone from working out.
“If I’m in pain, how do I keep working out?
The answer to that is highly individual. For some clients, our guidelines involve scaling down the volume of work being done. Maybe the amount of running or lifting you are doing is more than your body is able to tolerate at the time. We’ll help you figure out what you CAN do with a specific activity and also give you exercises to help improve your body’s tolerance for that specific activity. For others, our guidelines may involve scaling down weight. Maybe you aren’t dealing with strength limitations, but your tolerance for that weight is limited due it’s sensitivity to that movement and/or load. In that case, we spend part of our treatment figuring out what dose and formulation is appropriate for you to move at this time.
4 Variables we commonly manipulate to allow someone to continue training during an injury include
– tempo, range of motion, weight, movement.
A hypothetical example is if someone were dealing with sharp knee pain during back squats at the bottom position below 90deg.
-tempo modification: (6 second slow lowering down, 6 second slow coming up)
-range of motion modification: box squats limiting range of motion at 90deg
-weight: lightening the weight on a back squat
-movement: switching to a goblet squat, wall sit etc (another movement that still loads the same area but isn’t irritable)