Help Your Body Perform:
The Importance of “Rehabbing” on the Regular
Is pain limiting your workout? Are you pushing through symptoms hoping to get stronger? You are not alone. “No Pain No Gain” is a wonderful concept for healthy, uninjured bodies but if the pain you’re experiencing is predictable, sharp, and/or always seems to come back then chances are that the oh-so-common saying is probably working against you and making things worse. No one wants to slow down to let an injury heal but often times inadequate management of an acute injury can lead to chronic problems and cause re-injury or ongoing pain that will undoubtedly limit your future fitness goals. In many cases, a well trained, sport-oriented physiotherapist can help you balance these issues without demanding you to stop all fitness activities – it can be as easy as combining certain maintenance exercises into your regular warm up and cool down routines. You just need to know what exercises!!
Before we go any further, let’s note that all bodies are built differently, the factors contributing to your pain will vary greatly based upon your occupation, hobbies, postural habits etc., and the severity of your injury will dictate the type of rehab advised – no two cases are exactly alike. Always seek professional opinion. Use the two cases below to help understand why “rehabbing on the regular” is worth every effort.
Lower Body Case:
28 year old female
Works full time as a nurse
Trains at gym with a trainer 3x/week
Runs 20-25 km/week
Complains of right hip pain with running, deadlifting, squatting, walking (once irritated), transferring patients at work, and wakes in the morning sore from sleeping.
Diagnosis: low back instability with transverse abdominal, multifidi, and glute max/medius/minimums muscle weakness.
IMPORTANT MAINTENANCE EXERCISES for this patient would include: deep core stability training, glute and single leg strengthening.
= ~10-15 minutes, 3-5x/week
Upper Body Case:
35 year old male
Works full time as a paramedic
Plays volleyball 2x/wk
Lifts weights at local gym 2x/week
Complains of left shoulder pain when driving ambulance, playing guitar >20 minutes, serving overhand and blocking at net. Left sided weakness also reported during gym workouts and 911 calls requiring heavier lifting/reaching and carrying.
Diagnosis: cervical spine instability with concurrent hypo-mobility in upper neck and thoracic spine; lower trapezius, rotator cuff, and serratus anterior muscle weakness; moderate mechanical postural deficits.
In addition to improving postural awareness, IMPORTANT MAINTENANCE EXERCISES for this patient would include cervical spine stability training, thoracic spine mobilization over foam roll, scapular and rotator cuff muscle strengthening, pectoral and latissimus muscle stretching.
= ~10-20 minutes, 3-5x/week
*Note that these cases highlight how common it is for us to see patients experiencing extremity pain (hip, shoulder, knee, elbow etc.) when the problem is originating from the spine (neck, low back). In these situations, the patient may or may not have any back or neck pain at all. Without addressing the central cause of symptoms it is highly unlikely the patient would ever improve. On the flip side, if the patient fails to keep their core muscles surrounding the spinal instability strong, their symptoms can creep back up and put them at greater risk for re-injury; and realize that spinal injuries often cause cumulative damage.
For as long as I have known Tony and Dani Smith, they encourage both gym members and staff alike to respect the limits an injury may pose. Ultimately, they want you to become a better version of yourself and can appreciate healing timelines for those members demonstrating an ongoing commitment to improve. They encourage open communication if you are injured, have ample knowledge on activity modification so that you don’t have to skip classes, and consistently provide time every class to warm up and cool down. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY to know your own body – educate yourself so that you can TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THIS WARM UP AND COOL DOWN TIME. The staff at The Garage Gym are open to listening if you are capable of communicating your rehabilitative needs. They continually approach me seeking information regarding muscle and joint recovery and strive to create workouts that promote adequate muscle balance. That being said, if you are not obtaining your desired results, please seek professional rehabilitative advice and help your trainers help you.
As a physiotherapist I treat patients of all ages and can confidently preach the importance of maintaining your body’s optimal level of function across the many decades of life. In order to do so I believe finding yourself a physiotherapist who wants to understand your body and your lifestyle is imperative – especially for athletes and those who value challenging the limits of their own physical fitness regularly. Stick with that professional and let them teach you about the imbalances your lifestyle tends to create as you will see yourself begin to develop your own injury prevention awareness. Getting to know the staff at The Garage Gym has been a reassuring privilege. They want their members to be healthy, safe, and strong – your gains after all, are a reflection of the environment they create so help your body run at it’s best … remember, you only get one. Love it, take care of it, and see how far it will take you.
MPT, OMPT, BScKin
*certified to perform Functional Dry Needling
Erie Shores Rehabilitation
375 Main St. E