Many people with stiffness, aches or pains have been told, “Hey, just rest for a couple of weeks, see how it feels and then get back to things.” Unfortunately, this is one of the worst things to do… and actually slows healing. Watch below or keep reading…
While some form of rest might be needed if things are really hot n’ bothered- the concept of resting does not work for most people in pain.
So here’s the truth about what’s happening when you rest. So if you’ve had an injury, and you’ve been laying off things for a couple of weeks, and tried to go back to running and it just didn’t work… you’re likely thinking, what’s wrong? I got to go get an image… I’ve got to go see this doctor or that doctor. And you start looking around for answers as to what could be going on and why your pain keeps coming back (even after you’ve rested)
It doesn’t mean you’re broken and that you can’t heal and that you need fixing via surgery or something like that. You just need to understand what’s actually happening. So here’s what’s happening when you rest…
Get that there is a certain amount of strength or horsepower needed to do specific activities in life. Sleeping requires little to no effort or horsepower, whereas sprinting or jumping might require a lot of horsepower. And of course, there are activities in between. At the time the ache or pain started you had a certain amount of strength… but, as we rest- we lose strength, function, and horsepower. In other words, when we rest, we trade in our Ferrari for a Toyota.. and naturally we have less ability to go, jump, move, run- LIVE LIFE! Make sense?
So, what happens is you hurt yourself, you rest- things calm down, and your strength starts to reduce.
This is where most people mess up. A few weeks later they’re feeling pretty good and try to go for a run again or get back to the thing which hurt them to begin with. But your horsepower, your strength, your conditioning has reduced well below what’s needed for that activity. So then you go back to that activity and boom, it hurts again. And you just keep hurting. You just keep hurting yourself. Frustration sets in and you begin to wonder what the heck is going on here? Why am I not healed? And, what most fail to realize is that they are healed… but they need to build the strength of the tissue back up again or they risk overloading the area (doing too much too soon) and re-injuring.
Have you gone through this before?
Now is when most people go down the path of MRI’s, injections, whatever, a bunch of useless stuff- when the problem is that you tried to jump the gap… rather than bridge it with progressive strength training needed to get back up to speed.
So the point is this… As you’re resting, your strength and conditioning starts to go down a little bit. A few days- no biggie, but if you take two, three, four, six weeks, two months, or longer… and then you try to go back to that same activity that bothered you- you’re likely to have serious problems. The takehome is that rest doesn’t work because you’re deconditioning as you rest, and then certain activities in life require certain amount of horsepower or energy to do. And as you’re resting, if you’re deconditioning, and fail to build that back up- this is why you keep re-injuring yourself.
A better way is “relative rest.”
Part of the problem as to why you probably hurt yourself in the beginning is that you didn’t have enough horsepower or capacity to do the activity that hurt you to begin with. So you were underpowered to begin with and now you’ve rested, so you’re really underpowered and then you wonder why you can’t get back to running. So this is where physical therapy comes in… you’ve got to take your Ferrari back!
Start by modifying, tweaking or temporarily avoiding things to calm the fire. If squatting hurts, it’s not that squatting is bad… just don’t go quite as low- or as with as much weight. If running hurts, try power walking, limit the speed, reduce the miles. Begin physical therapy and strength training to gradually build it back up.
This whole post could be summed up with this… “Calm Things Down, Build Them Back Up.”
For anyone in the Collegeville, Royersford, Phoenixville, King of Prussia, or Main Line area who’s serious about getting better naturally- call 484 552 3767 to speak with me directly.
Consider one person who goes to the doctor with back pain and is told by a surgeon that most back pain heals, and that the best treatment for back pain is actually not surgery- it’s exercise. Now, consider another person who sees a surgeon and is told that their MRI shows they’ve got the worst back he or she (surgeon) has ever seen. And are told that the only way they won’t be crippled is to have back surgery. Who do you think will be better in the long run? Who is more likely to be in pain 1 year from now? I can tell you from personal experience, and from what research tells us, that the person who’s been led to believe that they cannot heal- will not heal.
Everyone feels pain- but not everyone will stay in pain. Some people who injure themselves go on to recover nicely- and return to living life painfree. Others end up suffering- and limit their lives due to pain that just won’t go away. What’s the difference?
Don’t believe me… here is the headline of an article recently published in the Journal Of Bone And Joint Surgery…
Even the surgeons admit it!
Take, for example, a time when you noticed a bruise but have no idea how it got there. Or the stories of people in extreme conditions who were shot, or impaled- and managed to survive these conditions. Or, what about the man who cut his arm off to escape being trapped between two boulders in the middle of the woods! OR, ever taken a warm shower after being in the sun all day- feels like it’s burning you- but as you know- IT”S NOT… it’s simply hypersensitive receptors on your skin… causing you to think that the warm water is actually very hot.
You see- pain is an experience. It is more than just tissue damage- infact, that has very little to do with it. Consider that being told you have a slipped disc, and being shown pictures of a slipped disc actually make you feel more back pain! Basically, your brain is always attempting to answer the question- “How dangerous is this input?” And, the answer is largely influenced by many factors- including actual tissue damage, stress, what we’re told, x-ray and MRI results, and sleep quality. We now know that someone who has an MRI and knows the results of those tests feels more pain than someone who knows nothing at all!
Watch this video below. It explains the complexity of pain- and answers the question- What is Pain?
So, the takehome… don’t let x-rays and MRI’s disable you. Understand that pain is a complex thing that doesn’t mean your broken- it’s simply your body’s alarm system telling you something isn’t quite right… And sometimes, your alarm system keeps going off even when your tissue is completely healed… making you feel pain when there is actually no damage or problem.
Keep your head up! There’s hope.
Call 484 552 3767 to speak to a specialist physical therapist who can help guide you on the road to recovery.