Blogs By Request: Safely Returning to Training After an Injury
The request was: "I'd like to learn more about how to transition safely back to training after injuries. After going through this several times I find it challenging both mentally and physically. It's hard for me to know when I'm overdoing vs training carefully."
Who has ever felt this way? Most of us deal with aches and pains, but injuries can be really frustrating and confusing. So, how do we know when it is safe to train a movement pattern that was once painful?
1. Nobody knows your body better than you do. Each training day your coach will check in with you. When we ask you how you are doing we want to know everything. Your day, your mood, your aches and pains…all of it! We want to know on a scale of 1-10 what your pain is today. There is a fancy chart hanging on the wall to help guide you. If we don’t know we can’t help you. We even want to know if you have a slight headache or heartburn! All of it!
2. Let’s pretend like you felt a tweak in your back while you were cleaning the garage over the weekend. It’s not bothering you now, but it happened….we need to know. Even if you think it is nothing, we need to be cautious to prevent injury.
3. Be mindful of your progress. What is your pain today compared to when you first injured? What is your pain today compared to last week? What is your pain today after training yesterday?
4. Are you aware of this injury while you’re not in training? What bothers you at home? Are you noticing it more or less with day to day activities?
These are questions to pay attention to and ask yourself. When we ask you these questions this is how we can help determine when we should progress. If you are consistently having no pain, then we can start to ease up on modifications. It is NEVER okay to go from modified to full load! Allow me to be specific.
If we have been modifying (for example) squat patterns, then we will start by introducing assisted squats. If those are pain free consistently then we can lose the assistance and see how bodyweight squats feel. If that is consistently pain free then depending on FMS results, we can progress from there. It is important to pay attention to how.
Injuries take more than just a physical toll on your body. They are mentally exhausting too. Why train if you’re always in pain anyways, right? What is the point of coming in if you have to modify all the time and are not able to do what everyone else is doing? I don’t have any magic advice to give you that makes all of the frustrations go away, but I do know this...without training you are giving up your independence. Do you want to be able to get up and down off of the floor in 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now or do you want to call the fire department for a lift assist? Do you want to rely on others to come with you to your appointments so they can help you in and out of the car or do you want to drive yourself and even take the stairs? Training isn’t all about toning up and looking good naked- that’s just a sweet side effect. Training is for life. Try and remember that you are going to be one strong gnarly senior citizen someday!