If It Hurts, Tell Someone
If you are reading this blog, you are likely into some kind of physical activity. With any physical activity, there is a danger of injury. It doesn’t matter if you are speed walking, running, lifting weights, skiing, hiking, doing yoga, etc. Anytime you are moving, you are at some kind of risk. One of our goals at IA is to limit your potential risk as much as possible. We do this through constant observation from a coach and movement pattern correct. However, we can only do so much to prevent an injury. Worse, if we don’t know about an injury, we can’t do anything to avoid making it worse, or help you make it better.
Types of Injury
There are two types of injuries: Acute and Chronic. Think of acute injuries as something that happens all of the sudden. You are walking down the street, step on an uneven surface, and twist your knee. That’s sudden and acute. On the other hand, chronic injuries are those that develop over time. Runners might see stress fractures develop over weeks of running. It takes miles and miles to wear down the bones in the feet. Then, one day, a stress fracture appears.
As mentioned above, it is impossible for us to prevent any injury from ever happening. If we see an acute injury happen in the gym, we can respond immediately. We can prevent it from getting worse and take immediate action to start the healing process. This applies whether the injury is visibly external (like a scraped shin) or completely internal (like a pulled hamstring). It is your sudden reaction that we are seeing.
When the injury is chronic, it is much harder for us to help. In our industry, we commonly see these kinds of injuries appear in the knees, hips, or shoulders. Over time, the knees start to ache more and more. Eventually, the member isn’t able to squat properly. We don’t usually find out about chronic injuries until the injury prevents the athlete from doing something. Only then are we able to ask the member what’s wrong and we learn about the injury. Hopefully, at this time, it isn’t too late for us to take remedial action.
Because chronic injuries are so hard to spot, and can be detrimental to future performance, you have to tell someone when it hurts. No, we don’t need to know about every little ache and pain. However, when your shoulder bothers you in the same way across multiple workouts, it is time to let us know. This is also not considered complaining. We try to limit complaining as much as possible at IA, and that mentality can have a chilly effect because members don’t want to be perceived as “complaining” about pain. However, bringing our attention to continuing pain in your body isn’t complaining, it is being proactive about your health.
Fixing Your Pain
Unless the injury involves some kind of tissue damage, you can usually fix the pain through rest. We know this isn’t music to anyone’s ears. No one likes to be forced to rest. However, you need to develop the mindset that resting now means greater progress in the future because you are fixing the pain before it gets worse.
Sometimes, more aggressive remedial actions may be needed. You might need to apply ice or heat to the painful area. Based on the recovery science, we typically recommend using ice for joint issues and heat for muscle issues. We may also recommend different mobility exercises or accessory work to help strengthen imbalances. As a last resort, we will send members to a professional for further assessment and maybe some physical therapy.
In the end, we cannot help those who do not let us know they are hurting. Therefore, if you have pain that isn’t going away after a few sessions, don’t be a tough guy. Tell a coach and be proactive in your fast recovery.