Does this sound familiar?
You experience an injury. No worries, it’s just a niggle right? You try to push through for a few weeks before the pain gets worse during and after exercise, leading you to eventually decide to take a rest break to let things settle. You start with an easier return to activity, and things feel good! You ramp up to the same distance, weight or intensity you were doing pre-injury, only for that exact same injury to happen again. (Queue cycle repeat!) ⠀
We tend to see this pattern in many of the clients that present to us year round, but with the pandemic affecting the way people might usually train, we’ve been seeing it more than ever.
In order for us to help you get off the ‘injury merry go round’ and sort that stubborn ongoing niggle for good, you first need to know why rest alone isn’t fixing anything. Remember, injury is really just your body not being strong enough to cope with the activity you’re exposing it to in the volume you’re doing it. As such, we need to get you stronger than you were before if you wish to return to the things you were doing prior to injury. Rest isn’t changing this! In fact…
Rest will likely help your pain, but will probably make your injury worse on your return to activity
Don’t get us wrong. A period of rest will likely make you feel better. Keeping our explanation of what injury is in mind, if we stop exposing our body to activities, of course you’re going to feel a little less sore for the short term. Whilst rest will help your pain feel better in the short-term, nothing is really changing. Rest taken for periods longer than just a short period of time will have a detrimental effect as you look to get back into your usual activities.
Take these facts into account:
- Strength declines from just 2 weeks
- Stiffness develops in tendons from 4 weeks
- You lose fitness, as well as rates of fatigue increasing with rest periods
Keeping these in mind – if you rest from an injury for a few weeks and then try to return to that same activity, you’re returning with a weaker, potentially stiffer and less resilient body than before! The result? That same injury flaring up again, and likely worse than the first time around!
So, should you be ‘resting’ at all?
Only a small minority of people may actually require rest as part of getting them better. We always endeavour to keep you exercising and remaining active in some capacity where possible. If we do need to ‘rest’ from an aggravating activity however, you should rarely, if at all be resting completely.
‘Resting’ really shouldn’t be ‘resting’
Rest should look like a small period where you’re avoiding the things that make you feel worse for more than 24 hours, whilst still strength training, cross training and exercising around your injury to get you as strong as possible! Basically, rest really isn’t rest! It’s a break from the things that have been irritating your injury whilst making your body stronger for its return to those things. You only have to walk past our exercise gym and see us putting our clients through their rehab to know recovery from an injury isn’t easy, and it’s definitely not sitting on the couch or not doing much activity.
What can you do to fix that niggly old injury once and for all?
- Understanding ‘rest’ can play a role, albeit very occasionally! It also has negative consequences if all you’re doing is resting, and is a good way to ensure you’ll get injured quicker with your favourite activity next time! Sometimes it’s dropping things back a little bit before building them back up again.
- Resting shouldn’t be ‘resting’, it should be training around injury and getting strong as hell! A comprehensive rehabilitation of at least 6-12+ weeks is usually needed to address things properly.
- Understanding injuries takes time to recover, then there’s more time needed to regain strength. Although we can speed up your return to your usual activities, we can’t speed up the time it takes for your body to recover, adapt and develop strength to return injury free. This is why for most clients we’re transparent in telling them most things take 6-12 weeks to treat properly in order to ensure they don’t come back again. This ensures enough time to settle pain, whilst allowing enough time for a solid rehabilitation block to fix the issue properly and for good.
- Seek help. The team at Thrive Physio Plus knows a thing or two (yes, we’re biased!), or a physio you’ve worked with and found helpful in the past can help you rehabilitate an injury properly to ensure it doesn’t come back.
Want to take control and finally put a plan in place to sort that stubborn injury that keeps plaguing the progress towards your goals? Call us on 8490 0777 or book online here.