Many of us have experienced it. We’re just starting to make progress and then the same frustrating niggle that happened last time starts to creep in. Many thoughts go through our head. “Should I slow down and lose the momentum I’ve worked hard to build”? “Maybe If I push through it will be different this time around?”. Inevitably if you’ve been in this situation before, you know how the story ends….. Usually in the practice on the table asking why me! We see this time and time again. A large part of avoiding recurrent injuries is understanding them in the first place. What is your body trying to tell you? Where does the problem come from? What do I need to change in order to stop this cycle from happening again? These are all healthy questions to be asking and effort in finding the answer will certainly yield results.
In practice, I explain the body as a “system”. Your system is both strong and adaptable, constantly making changes to complete the tasks you ask of it. If one part of the system becomes fatigued, a neighbour knocks on the door to lend a hand. Over time our system becomes so well adapted to stressors that we barely notice what were once challenging tasks. This in a nutshell is the whole premise of training and improving – termed progressive overload. So what are these aches and pains that start to creep in everytime I’m on track to hitting a new lifting PR or knocking 90 seconds off my running PB? Quite simply, your system (and its tired neighbours) can no longer handle the load. We’ve either progressed too fast that the system can’t adapt, or there is something more underlying going on.
WHAT IS YOUR BODY TRYING TO TELL YOU?
There are two ways system overload can be handled. The first is simply to reduce the stress on the system. I know this isn’t the answer we wanted to hear, but reducing stress on the system will allow opportunity for it to recover and be ready to go again. This is a great position to be in, as the error usually lies in the training program or occupational demands and not the body itself. Stimulus/ load just occurred too hard, too soon and it is usually very simple to amend under the guidance of a trained health professional.
WHERE DOES THE PROBLEM COME FROM?
The second way to handle system overload is to simply improve the systems capacity to handle stress (ie. strengthen the system – in particular the deficits that may be occurring). By improving capacity, we’re essentially raising the ceiling, giving more room for work into the future. Thorough movement assessment by a health professional will allow you to discover what needs work and ultimately how to disrupt the cycle we’re working hard to avoid.
So what way is best? It’s not a cop out, but the best answer in our opinion is a little bit of both. By reducing load and rehabbing during the deload period to improve capacity, your body (or system) is now in a better position to grow and develop. Follow this up with a clinically guided return to performance program and you’ll be wishing you had addressed this sooner!
Made it this far and not sure what to do? Give us a call on 02 9126 8263 and our APEX Health Movement team would love to discuss this with you.