As a Licensed Massage Therapist in Bradenton, FL (near Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch), I see a wide range of people of varying athletic and fitness abilities.
Some of my massage patients are professional sports ball players. Others are moms and dads who play in a weekend league or help coach their own child’s team. Some are gym rats, while others have just started working out after years of inactivity.
Most amateur fitness enthusiasts make one of two mistakes when they are injured.
Here is a concept that I wish all my Lakewood Ranch Medical Massage clients knew: In the gym, you must train AROUND injuries, not through them.
When you train through an injury you are more likely to make it worse. In some cases you can create a permanent injury.
When you work around an injury you are respectful to your current limitations. You are acknowledging there are things you will have to modify and avoid.
Yes, that sucks, and for the weeks you have to train around the injury you won’t be getting the best workout of your life. But you WILL hopefully actually recover and be able to get back up to your normal level of activity.
When you are planning your workouts ask yourself: do I want to train well for right NOW or do I want to have a long and successful training history that spans years and even decades?
Take the long view. Whatever you do, keep your future self in mind and be kind to them.
The other mistake some people who are injured make: they don’t work out at all.
You lose fitness and conditioning faster than you would think. By completely going couch potato you are doing yourself a disservice.
Yes, the standard of care (though this is being challenged with some newer studies) for soft tissue injuries is RICE. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. We’ve all heard it since middle school.
Rest does not mean, “stop doing everything and marathon Game of Thrones while you eat junk food for the next week.”
Rest means, “don’t do the things that make you feel worse.”
Rest means, “listen to your body and respect its current limitations.”
Rest also means whatever your doctor/physician/physical therapist/team athletic trainer tells you. That may mean don’t lift over 10 lbs for the next few weeks, have to avoid standing for more than a half hour, etc. (Whatever your physician recommends, listen. They know your history and extent of injuries first-hand and have the education and training to advise you. Always listen to your doctor and take their advice over an internet blog post!)
So what should you do?
Assuming that you are not under any restrictions from a physician, take this as an opportunity to switch up your workout routine. If you injured your ankle, try out one of the upper-body cardio machines at your gym. If you’re a boxer and you threw out your shoulder, maybe play around with interval training on the recumbent bicycle. If you can’t do your free weights, maybe try some modified yoga or Pilates.
And if you’re near Sarasota, Bradenton, or Lakewood Ranch and you are looking for a way to knock down pain and inflammation quickly while helping to speed healing, consider trying a free demonstration of Class 4 laser therapy. (Which you can book at the bottom of my website “book now” and choose “free laser demo”. Or call 941-321-5311.)