Injuries, whether minor or more serious, occur when stress is placed on the body during activity to such an extent that the musculoskeletal systems are prevented from functioning as they should.
Injuries can be classed at acute or chronic. Acute injuries are as a result of specific events or trauma. Example of acute injuries are strains, sprains and bruising. Chronic (or ‘overuse’) injuries stem from a gradual build up of wear and tear that reach a breaking point and feel to have come ‘out of the blue’. Examples can be tendinopathy and bursitis,
As injuries develop and become more chronic they can leave a criss-cross pattern over the body from left to right, such as lower back pain on one side affecting the opposite shoulder. Without being address this pattern of compensation can increase.
The body can protect itself against Injury by going into spasm to prevent further pain or to compensate for the effects of the injury. Pain proprioceptors detect motion in the muscles and respond to any stimuli, such as pain, using the nervous system. They are located in muscles, tendons and around synovial joints, constantly relaying messages to the brain. Injury effects the messages these proprioceptors send, which can result in further injury.
Injury Prevention Tips
- Make sure you warm up. If you are experiencing pain before your warm up, self-assess how you feel after. If the pain hasn’t gone away after your warm up, it might be a sign you need to stop and rest
- Make sure you warm up very slowly before exercise, especially if you do a desk-based job. Try using dynamic stretches (eg walk before you start your run)
- Make sure your training shoes are comfortable and trust your judgement. Research by the University of Calgary found that more than half of those asked to rate their shoes for comfort had a lower injury rate.
- If you feel inflexible in certain areas of you body, try active stretches. These are stretches that are held for 1-2 seconds then repeated. [link to the art of stretching]
- Put together a pre-hab kit and daily routine as an early intervention to stretch out any trouble spot areas. This can include a yoga ball and tennis ball.
- Don’t over-train. It can increase the risk of chronic injury. Try keeping a training diary. It may help you to spot any patterns or signs of how and when an injury began.
- Make sure you are using the right technique. Poor technique can result if overloading the body, especially if it is repeated.
- Recurring injury can weaken the musculoskeletal system and make it susceptible to further injury. Make sure that you follow rehabilitation protocols to recover fully from any injury.
If you have an injury make sure you seek medial and, where necessary, specialist advice. You may need immediate first aid, A&E or GP advice. You may be referred to specialist consultants and physiotherapy services for rehabilitation services. Alongside this are osteopaths, massage therapists, acupuncturists and chiropractors. You may benefit from seeing more than one specialist services who can work together.
Assessment of the injury through function – ie joint range of movement and muscle testing – of the affected area can determine what rehabilitation and strengthening is required.
If you’re recovering from injury, rehabilitation exercises plays an important role alongside and therapeutic therapy such as massage. Rehab strengthens injured soft tissue and supports a return to pre-injury activity.
Any rehabilitation exercises should be performed slowly to make sure you are in control of the movement and can stop when you feel any pain or restriction in the range of movement. The exercises should only be done at a normal speed once strength and co-ordination has been restored.
Tips for Good Rehabilitation
- Warm up and cool down before and after your rehab exercises
- Build up gradually. It can be easy to think you are recovering so can increase the rehab program but you could be risking breaking down again. Don’t try to do too much too soon by exceeding the exercises you have been given.
- If you are feeling pain during the rehab exercises stop. Check with your GP or specialist for advice. It’s important not to over work your body so you need to get to know what your limits are.
- Make sure you rest in between your rehab sessions.
- Keeping a positive attitude can help, even if recovery is taking longer than you expected.
27 April 2016;