I often have conversations that go something like this when talking to people with chronic injuries or stuck in injury cycles:
Me: “I want to go back to the beginning. Tell me about the first injury.”
Athlete: “I sprained/strained my _____ several years ago.”
Me: “And what did you do for it after.”
Athlete: “Not much. Rested, iced, stretched; eventually it felt better and I was able to do everything again.”
It is great that things calmed down enough to let you get back to training, but unfortunately the body does not know how to fix itself once an injury occurs, which is why you continue to become injured.
Without proper action following an injury, the way the body moves changes:
- Mobility deficits occur around the area of injury, which create other movement compensations in the body.
- Strength and stability deficits are present, so muscles work harder to control the joint.
- Because of the lack of stability and mobility, increased stress and strain are placed upon tendons and ligaments.
If you saw a rehab specialist following your injury and are still having issues, I am not surprised. Rehab specialists, especially ones in the insurance world, usually only get you back to function. Once you can function, The End! I worked for over 10 years in the insurance world and know how it works. The insurance companies’ definition of function is one of the reasons I left the insurance world.
Function does not mean optimal movement. Function means you have returned to normal daily activities (kind of) and maybe have returned to sport. It does not mean that your body is moving well. The compensations that are still present because of mobility deficits, strength deficits, and learned movement faults while injured are continuing to impact you. It is not uncommon for injuries from 10-15 years prior to be a contributing factor to injuries that occur today. The body can only compensate for so long before something gives in.
Until you teach your body how to break out of all the compensated patterns it has developed over the years, you will continue to become injured.
Here’s my story on this exact issue: I was a patient in the insurance world after an ankle surgery following a severe sprain that shredded several ligaments. I had remaining deficits when I was discharged from physical therapy, especially in my ankle mobility. This was before I was a physical therapist. At the time, I did not realize more progress was possible after I left physical therapy. Once I realized several years later that I could continue to improve my ankle mobility, I started working on it again. It has improved significantly, but still not to where the other side is. The lack of ankle mobility and the resultant movement compensations my body formed have created issues in the knee on the same side as well as the shoulder on the opposite side. Things are significantly better now, but I am still dealing with some of the aftereffects of the compensated patterns I was moving in.
Now you know a little more of my story. And that story is the reason I am so passionate about what I do today with my clients. Are you wanting help to put an end to your injury cycle and not sure what to do? Let’s talk! Schedule a Discovery Call with me to figure out what your next steps are to a pain-free life.
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