For a while, my sign off on YouTube videos was #DoesYourDoctorEvenLift ?
It was a little tongue in cheek jab at providers and professionals whose only advice to athletes in pain is consistently “Stop doing that thing that you love.”
A classier way to summarize my feelings about providers like this is “Are they athletes / do they even understand athletes?”
Part of being an athlete and a provider that cares for athletes is knowing the mentality of active people. I know how much moving, lifting, and competing means to my patients because I know how much it means to me.
I’ve been on both sides of injuries. I’ve known the absolute gut wrenching feeling of having something I enjoy doing taken away from me because of pain. And I’ve helped athletes of all levels overcome this helpless, hopeless feeling for more than a decade and a half.
All of this brings me to the point of this post. What do I do when I get injured? Do I practice what I preach? Are there shortcuts or secret recovery hacks that I utilize?
Let’s find out!
The number one thing I do regarding injuries is avoiding them in the first place. Yes, prevention is the best approach. What does this entail?
- I eat a low inflammatory diet (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo-ish) which helps decrease my overall systemic inflammation and likelihood for injury and illness.
- I use regular mobility and stability exercises daily.
- I warm-up extensively prior to activity.
Bio-feedback / Body awareness
Knowing how your body is feeling and performing prior to load-based exercise is a vital component to avoiding injury. Biofeedback is a series of simple quick tests prior to working out that can drive your exercise choice (assuming you have a choice). Read more about Biofeedback testing at DaveDellenave.com
Additionally, when you feel pain during a workout…STOP. You should know the difference between discomfort and pain. If you have pain during a workout, you must shut it down immediately.
If you are in pain, find a position of relief and slowly move gently through pain-free ranges of motion if possible. This might be specific, like neck ranges of motion that don’t hurt. Or general, such as simply walking slowly.
Ice or Heat? No. Don’t waste your time. If you have an injury that is immediately swelling (like an ankle sprain), your best bet is to stabilize the area with some support and compression, as well as rest. As soon as you can, start moving or better yet work with a practitioner that can guide rehab.
If you have pain but don’t have obvious swelling, check in with a trusted provider that specializes in movement recovery. When I injured my mid-back recently during snatch drills, I immediately texted my fellow Chiropractor and got an appointment the next morning. After just two-days, I was back training again.
This combination of some guided rehab, adjustments (when necessary) and body work like Active Release Techniques are vital to a full and speedy recovery.
Long Term Care
Ideally you’ll want to fully rehabilitate the injury. I often see patients that have chronic pain in joints and structures because of past trauma that went un-rehabilitated. So follow up with your local provider as well as drilling at-home mobility and stability protocols, such as those in my Full Body Fix program. This is part of why I built the program using “protocols”. You can’t buy single exercises from The Full Body Fix. You have to get the whole protocol, a group of exercises in a progressive series. This is how professionals design rehab programs and this is what you’ll need to help recovery.
I hope that helps give you some direction to navigate any future injuries you run into.
Also, a special shoutout to friend and chiro-collegue Dr. Anthony Gustin who, along with his business partner Dr. Ryan DeBell have launched the Movement Providers site. This is a great place to start looking for effective providers in your area that understand the demands of athletes and active people.
Yours in Health,
I’d love for you to take advantage of a subscriber only coupon for $10 off my video rehab program – The Full Body Fix.