Managing pain

When too little comes too late

We spoke at length of the kinds of injuries and the pain that would result based off trauma to the body and nervous system. Through the extensive coverage we had for the varying types of pain we could expose ourselves to through rigorous activity, we advocated rest and recovery to get back to full speed.

Does that mean that in the absence of physical activity, we could totally avoid the inherent risk and pitfall of physical trauma and injury? Would just a hands off approach be a sufficient solution to an injury? For the power team you want to have on your side that we mentioned in the previous article, physiotherapy advocates a progressive movement up towards your full mobility and getting to the right state and looking at making yourself better before the injury.

Muscle atrophy is an unfortunate side effect that happens alongside your healing. The body being a smart machine, will calibrate itself to making sure that it can handle the stresses and rigours. Studies have shown that karate practitioners have a higher bone density than the average person due to their training. The constant impact and stress causes their bodies to respond by having less porous bones, with their bodies actively reinforcing the bones with higher calcium deposits. The same as why the sprinter gets better at sprinting, growing strong and fast by virtue of the activity he engages, the body requires a certain degree of work and stress to grow and stay strong.

The converse happens with focused disuse of the body or in this case a body part in relation to an injury. As much as we need to give the body time to heal from injury, we will also need to have the body get up to speed to move from a state of atrophy to working strength.

In the event of muscle atrophy, the body takes away the muscle mass and the body part though healed and uninjured, is in a much weaker and fragile state. Not actively strengthening the weakened body part will lead to a higher chance of reinjury and even other injuries as the body compensates to take on more load in other parts than it was designed, imagine having a significantly weaker left leg to your right. This changes up the way you move, and not in a good way.

The best way forward is to have a medical professional by your side, knowing the lifestyle you have, will make having a clearer concise plan and the transition from recovery to active rehabilitation a breeze. As much as it is important to err on the side of caution, taking an overly passive approach could be detrimental in the long run.

As in all things in life, balance is key.

Have a healthy week ahead!

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