When Rest Alone is Not Always Best
You’ve sustained an injury, so you take a break from the aggravating activity. However, when you go back to exercising, that same familiar pain comes right back. The strategy of rest, then repeating what you were doing before (i.e. jumping back into running) is rarely effective. Often, resting alone is not enough to fix an injury. Let’s take a look at why rest alone isn’t the answer. Then, let's talk about what you should be doing to minimize time sidelined from injury so you can return to sport feeling better than ever.
When you have an injured tissue from either an acute injury or from accumulated strain/overuse, it’s true that some degree of rest is required to allow the injured tissue to repair itself. Your body heals damaged tissue via the natural process that starts with inflammation, where the tissue reacts to the stressor. Then tissue proliferation, where new tissue starts to build up and get laid down at the injury site. Lastly, remodeling/repair occurs where that new tissue is strengthened. However, movement and stimulation of blood flow is required in accordance with your body’s natural healing process to direct healing. So, resting and your body’s three-step healing process alone is often not enough to get you back on track to where you need to be.
Rest is Not a Panacea
If we completely offload, or rest, an injured area, this can often do more harm than good resulting in excessive stiffness, as well as impaired motor control and tissue atrophy from disuse. Chances are, when you go back to the same aggravating activity that you avoided with rest, your symptoms will return. The stiffness, weakness, or poor movement pattern that plagued you before is still there. This can of course be frustrating!
Why does this happen?! Although tissue starts to recover when stress is removed, rest did not fix the underlying problems that contributed to the issue in the first place. In this way, rest as the only treatment is similar to taking a painkiller. The painkiller may help short term, dulling the pain for a few hours, but the underlying issue will still be there when the medicine wears off, not effectively moving the dial forward.
Embrace an Active Recovery
You’re in luck, that is where we can help. At Zenith Performance and Wellness, we know that recovering from an injury requires a lot more than just rest. We will thoroughly investigate what is going on to cause your symptoms to get to the source of it. We will set you up with a targeted plan to address the cause or causes of your underlying problem. While we will perform techniques to help mitigate your pain, physical therapy at Zenith Wellness and Performance goes well beyond that.
Getting on the road to an active recovery, that goes beyond a simple “rest and repeat” may include:
Building Strength. We will work to strengthen areas that have become weak
Introducing Movement at or around the injury site. You have probably heard the phrase “motion is lotion”. We will either actively, or with assistance, promote movement to further stimulate healing and to maintain tissue health
Improving Mobility. When joints are stiff, we will work to mobilize them with both manual techniques and through movement
Improving Motor Control. This is your ability to perform controlled, coordinated and efficient movement
Cross Training. Injury doesn’t mean you have to rest your whole body either! There are plenty of alternative exercise modes you can implement to maintain your fitness or overall health
Making a Plan. Together we will make a strategic plan to safely re-introduce your favorite activities as your injury heals
Rest alone is not enough to effectively address all aspects of your injury. We are here to help you make the most of your recovery process. Contact Zenith PNW to set up an appointment with Jenn or Jesse today.