Mechanical Pain Mitigation
Mechanical Pain Mitigation
“When you are pushing the limits of human capacity you are going to feel mechanical pain.” – Max El-Hag. This statement holds true for all of us who exercise frequently – especially those of us at Reignited Fitness who like to bring the intensity! This post will serve as a strategic and comprehensive guide as to how to go about dealing with such pain (if it should be dealt with) and how to overcome it in the most efficient way possible. Some of these strategies you may have heard of before, but they will be elaborated upon in an understandable way so that they are most applicable to fitting your needs.
The P.RI.C.E. protocol serves as the foundation for acute injuries, especially helpful 24 to 72 hours after the injury, but is not limited to this time frame. This protocol can easily be applied to injuries that are more long term as well. PROTECTION is implemented to further prevent injury. An example of this would be using crutches to avoid more weight-bearing on an injured leg. For the arm, a sling to serve the same function. Partially immobilizing can be a great way to go about creating a means of protection. REST is extremely significant in allowing healing to occur. When it comes to this aspect, relative rest is a phrase worthy of being mentioned. This means resting the injury to the point that it allows for healing, but is not so restrictive that recovery is compromised or slowed due to an increase of stagnation in the area. Obviously, movement that stresses the injured area to the point of pain or that may slow or prevent healing should be avoided. However, some movement in most cases may be beneficial. Gentle, pain-free, range-of-motion and basic isometric contractions of the joints and muscles surrounding an injury have been shown to speed recovery. ICE is used to minimize and reduce swelling in addition to pain. Protecting the skin and limiting the cold exposure to 10 to 15 minutes is critical. Cycles of 10 to 15 minutes on and 1 to 2 hours off are generally agreed upon as effective and safer than longer periods of continuous ice application. COMPRESSION involves wrapping the injured area / applying an external force to the tissue. This minimizes swelling and provides some support. There are many forms of compression including, but not limited to: elastic bandages, sleeves, and even products such as KT tape, which all compress the area and keep blood flowing, thereby enhancing the process of recovery. The last of these aspects is ELEVATION. It is recommended to help reduce the pooling of fluid in the injured extremity or joint. Controlling swelling can help decrease pain and may limit the loss of range of motion, helping to speed up recovery time. Elevation is accomplished by positioning the injured area above the level of the heart. Beyond P.R.I.C.E. there are a few more strategies that can be implemented to alleviate symptoms of pain or an injury. Pain relief can be found in the form of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Ibuprofen. Isometric muscle contractions can improve and help to maintain strength and function of the affected area. For example, an athlete with a leg injury can repeatedly flex and relax the calf and quad muscles while sitting still or lying down; the leg muscles “fire” and are exercised even though the leg itself does not move or bear weight. These simple contractions can go a long way.
The aspect of mechanical pain and injury bring about one more topic worth mentioning. At Reignited Fitness we all participate in the form of exercise that we do for our own personal health related reasons / goals. At the end of the day, we all want to be healthier and better ourselves through the process of fixating on our aspirations. However, there can come a point in time when this HEALTH, becomes unhealthy. This is when it may be worthwhile for an individual to step back and take some time to reflect on what they are putting themselves through. For example, if I have no aspiration to become a competitive CrossFitter, and I have a shoulder injury, is it really worth it for me to continue doing butterfly pull-ups in workouts when I know that it will only agitate my injury more? I could easily do normal kipping pull-ups, strict pull-ups, ring rows, or whatever exercise may mitigate my pain, but I want to have the best score in Wodify. Is that really healthy? From a physical and mental standpoint? This is just one example of many. We never want to place more distress on our bodies and minds than eustress. Try not to allow what you do for health reasons to become unhealthy in themselves. Do your best to find worth in expressing the abilities that you gain inside of the gym, outside in real life. Exercising simply for a better quality of life can go a long way if you have not already reached this point; as least stress as possible. For those who are competitive or looking to become such, this aspect is varied and the principle of adaptation those people are striving to reach at such a supreme level cannot happen unless such stress is put on the body. In closing, find YOUR why and allow it to keep you exercising day after day, bettering yourself and increasing the quality of your life in the process!