Debunking Training Myths – Part 1

So many ideas get put in your head when it comes to training. These ideas begin being formed in childhood and continue to develop throughout adulthood by the things you read and listen to and the people you talk to. The problem is, it is difficult to know what is accurate and what is not.  

But here is the bigger problem – many times the best ideas and methods go against the medical and societal norms. So, instead of doing what is best when it comes to training and your health, you become a ‘follower’ and do what everyone else does. 

Time to get you considering some different ideas…Let’s debunk some training myths! 

Masking pain is fine to do so I can continue to train 

Masking your pain is never a good option! Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong and it wants to be fixed. And if you are wondering, no, pain medications and using some sort of brace are not fixing the problem. 

Pain medication and using braces are covering up the issues going on with your body in order to allow you to continue training and racing. The longer you continue to do that, the longer your body will continue to break down and create bigger injuries. Eventually, what started as a single, minor issue turns into a major issue and often develops into multiple issues rather than just the one you started with. 

No pain, no gain 

Pretty sure everyone has been told this by coaches growing up and we easily bought into it. It made sense, right? Push through pain now and you will become a better, stronger, faster athlete. 

Unfortunately, no one ever told us what ‘pain’ meant in this reference, so we decided is was ok to push through everything that was uncomfortable. 

Discomfort of pushing your ‘red line’ and making your body and mind uncomfortable WILL make you a stronger athlete, both mentally and physically. 

Pushing your body through pain of what could be a potential injury, that is what will get you in trouble! 

I will give you a little leeway on this, though, if you are an elite athlete with a podium position and/or money on the line and pushing through the pain to get through the single race you are currently in. 

Anything besides that – a training session or a race you are running for fun or practice – does not constitute a good reason to push through the pain. 

If you feel pain during a training session, STOP…and take time to figure out what is creating that pain. 

Rest and ice solve everything 

Rest can be helpful, but does not truly solve anything. Ice…well, that isn’t actually helpful, and in fact can delay the healing process. 

Sometimes rest is needed with injuries, depending on the injury. If that is the only thing you are doing, though, and hoping the problem will go away, you are likely going to be very disappointed. Most times, if rest does make the pain go away, the pain will just return when you start training again because you never actually fixed the reason that the pain developed in the first place. Without addressing the cause of the pain, the pain will not stay away. 

Ice has been used for many years to decrease pain.  Here’s what is happening, though… 

When an injury occurs, your body requires an inflammatory process in the injured tissues to bring in the necessary healing properties. When you use ice, you are decreasing the inflammatory process to the area and as a result the body does not send the necessary things that will heal your body. So, rather than helping your body heal faster, you are actually slowing it down. 

That does not mean I never recommend ice for things, but I don’t use it for the purpose most people do. When an area has significant swelling due to an injury (that is past the acute stage), it can be helpful to do contrast baths, alternating between hot water and an ice bath, to help push the swelling out of the area. To remind you, this does not do anything for healing, but it can help to clear swelling temporarily that is causing increased discomfort or lack of mobility. 

Surgery is the only option for most injuries 

When you go see a surgeon, they will tell you that you need surgery, because…well…they are surgeons! They are trained how know how to fix things via surgery and sometimes injections. They are not as well versed in the more conservative and regenerative approaches. And if they are, they likely don’t have as much faith in them.  If they did, they would be utilizing those methods. 

The other reason surgery becomes the ‘only’ option in people’s minds is because that is what insurance pays for.  With insurance, therapy visits are often limited and the insurance typically doesn’t cover the more holistic treatments, so the natural and conservative methods are frequently overlooked. 

So, what can you do instead of jumping right into surgery? Physical therapy (with a therapist who understands the movements required for your sport and how to retrain them properly), prolotherapy and/or platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections, and improve your training methods. You can also throw proper nutrition, proper sleep, and controlling stress level in there to ensure you are doing everything to heal your body. 

I have more myths to debunk for you next week, so stay tuned for that.  In the meantime, would you like some answers on what you can do about your injury instead of masking it or having surgery?  Let’s chat! Schedule a free call with Dr. Brianne Showman to find out what the better steps are for you and your recovery process. 

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