To Rest or Not to Rest, That is the Question
Let’s be honest, injuries are inevitable. Sure there are ways to cut down on the potential for injury BUT everyone gets hurt at some point. It just part of life.
The real question is, what do I do when I get hurt?
- How much is too much?
- Am I causing more damage?
- Should I skip the gym?
- Do I push through the pain?
In the majority of cases, pain occurs when there is overload to structures within our body that are not conditioned to tolerate that amount of load.
I think the best place to start is to explain why pain is present. In the majority of cases, pain occurs when there is overload to structures within our body that are not conditioned to tolerate that amount of load.
This may sound confusing but think about an easy example. Lets say I get pressured into biking for 30 miles. I am not a cyclist and today I can probably only bike 5 miles comfortably. After this 30-mile ride, my knee is painful. It was progressively getting irritated during the ride but afterwards I am limping and having difficulty walking.
Plain and simple, 30 miles is excessive for what my knee was conditioned to do on a bike, therefore I have pain in my knee.
Now, the real question is what do I do to make it better?
The overwhelming consensus is to perform ACTIVE rest (emphasis on ACTIVE). The body responds to stress in positive and negative ways.
If I now de-load my knee to the point where I am doing nothing but sitting on the couch, going to work, and putting ice on it, my body will then adapt to this new environment. Now instead of being able to bike 5 miles comfortably, due to true rest, my body is not able to bike ANY miles or do anything other than sit on the couch for that matter. And my knee is now less tolerant to load than before the peer-pressured 30-mile ride.
Active rest allows the body to maintain the previous level of load-tolerance AND encourages healing (if there is true damage present – topic of a future post), while decreasing pain and allowing progression toward the previous our level.
Finding that “sweet spot” where we are stressing the body enough to maintain, and letting the body rest enough to recover is tough to find. Fortunately, at PhysWell, you are surrounded by extremely knowledgeable coaches that are able to modify exercises AND there are physical therapists available to dive much deeper with a thorough evaluation to provide a playbook to get beyond your previous level and prevent injury in the future.
Pain should not dictate what you can and can not do. And more importantly, pain should not cause anxiety or stress to your life. Talk to our coaches or physical therapists about what we can do to help get you get back to moving well and moving often.