Recently because I’m a football fan I’ve been reading about recovery of the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. His name is Andrew Luck and he’s a professional athlete who was the next up and coming superstar in the league.
That is, until he badly tore the labrum in his shoulder and had to have surgery. The whole thing was mismanaged by his medical staff and it’s a long story, but the point of the whole thing is this: He did not take a snap last football season and has been out of football for over a year due to rehab.
This is a professional athlete with access to daily physio, the best surgeons in the game and things like stem cell treatments, and he still has not thrown a football in over a year. A year. This is a guy who throws a football for a living and he’s not doing it to let his injury recover for a YEAR.
I’ll ask you a simple question: if he’s taking that long to recover with access to all of those resources, what makes you think that you can recover from an injury any faster?
Typical labrum tear surgery recovery is 3-4 months but can easily stretch into 6-9 months if things aren’t dealt with properly.
Over the years I’ve dealt with hundreds of injuries. One thing that I really try to get across to my clients is that if you are hurt, you need to give your body time to heal and recover from whatever it is. This takes TIME. Usually a period of weeks if not months. For some reason my Type A people seem to think that if they just baby a problem for a couple of weeks and then go right back into doing whatever they were doing before they will be fine.
Or even worse, they do physio but keep on doing the same activity that caused the injury in the first place and expect to recover. I had an example of that just last week and when I pointed it out to my client that not stopping the activity meant it would just get worse again she was for some reason completely dumbfounded.
Does this make sense?
The general guidelines for minor injuries is 4-6 weeks. More severe ones are 6-12 weeks. Surgery is anywhere from 3-6 months at LEAST depending on the issue.
My main point is this: we need to exercise patience as a society when it comes to our bodies.
Whether it comes to recovering from an injury, things like weight loss or achieving a goal like running a marathon, you need to exercise patience to succeed.
Setting a goal for recovery is just like any other goal – there is a timeline and a process involved. Sometimes it means not moving anything for a couple of weeks. Sometimes it is moving just a little bit as much as you can as frequently as you can to help the healing process. It can be frustrating and feel like it’s taking forever. But you have a long time to achieve whatever it is you’re trying to do.
If you want to be active and healthy for a lifetime, then taking six months to recover from an injury might represent less than 1% of your athletic or active life over a span of fifty years. You’re not missing anything by taking that time to make sure that whatever happened doesn’t happen again.
Be patient now, be consistent and give it time and you will succeed in your recovery. Rush back into activity and have a setback or make the situation worse and suddenly a six-week process becomes six months.
If an NFL player can not touch a football for a year, you can wait three months to rehab from surgery. Don’t think that your body or recovery process is any different. Patience and consistency wil get you results every time.
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Jill Miller, who is the inventor of a program called Yoga Tune Up, recently revealed on her blog about a month ago that she needs a total hip replacement. At the age of 45. Now, she has been absolutely instrumental in helping many, many people discover a modality that can really help irritated tissue and brought it to the main stream. The story, however is what I want to bring your attention to today.
What was telling about her first blog post, which you can find HERE (and I’ll link to the second part HERE) is that she felt nagging pain not only for most of her life but for the past seven years. Until recently she didn’t bother to have it looked at because she was worried about surgery for personal reasons. That’s fine.
This is one of the most respected and knowledgeable (from an anatomy standpoint) body teachers IN THE WORLD and even she ignored her symptoms. We all do it, from your fellow office worker to high level athletes who want to keep competing.
“I’m okay, I just need to stretch.” “I’ll start using my therapy ball.” “I’ll take a couple of weeks off from running and everything will be fine.” And then we go back to doing the same thing that caused the problem in the first place and are suddenly surprised when the issue comes back – and worse.
Just this week another client of mine’s husband after almost a year of pain finally decided to go to the doctor and get checked because his knee wouldn’t stop failing and buckling. My prediction is either a torn ACL or a severely torn meniscus (or both). The problem is that he’s been walking around on it for the better part of a year without any treatment or attention, and likely it’s gotten a lot worse. This might mean that something that could have been helped with therapy before might need surgery now.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
Your body isn’t stupid.
Pain, collapse, restricted range is a signal that something is wrong.
The sooner you figure it out and fix it the better off long term you will be.
If you have water coming into your basement, you figure out where it is coming from and plug the leak. You don’t sit there and wait for it to subside, clean it up and then wait for it to happen again. Mold sets in. The leak might get bigger. Other things can come into play that make a simple leak a catastrophe. Your body is no different.
When your body is subjected to stress, it responds to it. This can result in either stronger muscles, or deterioration and loss of integrity. A large part of my job is finding out the perfect balance between just enough and too much load, stress or torque on joints. You need to consider your body as a whole and what loads it is being subjected to daily, weekly and annually to really figure this out.
And in case you’re wondering, sitting is a load. Driving is a load. Weight training is a load. Yoga is a load. I remember when I sat through the Yoga Tune Up course (I did not certify because I have no desire to be a yoga instructor) and a room full of body practitioners looked at me like I had two heads when I suggested that yoga poses – especially extreme ones – are still heavy forces through joints. They are, in case you’re wondering. Jill Miller says that herself in her articles. Years ago I wrote a post about why a downward dog is downright dangerous for most people. It’s HERE.
One big fundamental rule I teach my clients is that they should walk out of a workout feeling better – not worse. This means they are far more likely to have had an appropriate level of stimulus and will have a better long-term response. They won’t get worse, they will get better. Isn’t that the whole idea?
The point of this is that nobody is invulnerable to the rules of the body, even people who have spent their whole life practicing something that is supposedly therapeutic. Don’t assume that if you have a problem that things like stretching and pounding yourself with a yoga ball is the answer. It might just make things worse over time. Seek out someone who knows the rules of the body and can identify a proper strategy to bring your body back into balance and stop overloading tissue.
So the next time you work out, try taking a step back. Are you pushing through pain? Have you had a problem for a while and have been ignoring it? Take a really close stock and tell yourself that you should probably get that taken care of before subjecting your body to even more stress.
Because nobody wants a hip replacement at the age of 45. At least I don’t.
Feel free to message me or find me on social media if you have something you would like to identify or a question. Injuries and providing solutions are what I deal with every day.
Wow, it has been about six months since I’ve posted a proper article on my site. Due to lots of personal stuff and my business exploding in May time to sit down and write has been minimal at best. I also have some exciting side projects that I have been working on, but I wanted to touch base with my readership and let you all know what is in the works.
First of all, for those of you who haven’t experienced it yet, ISOPHIT has become an integral part of my practice. The results have been nothing short of amazing for providing new stable joints and allowing people who have limited range of motion to strengthen muscles without having to risk any issues. I’m still offering FREE workouts on this apparatus if you want to experience it any time, just contact me.
I’m heading to Toronto in October to finally take the first part of the ISOPHIT certification program (I took the second part in April) and gain some more knowledge about the apparatus and how to apply it effectively. It’s really a game changer.
The second part of the Joint Injury Management Series is almost completed! Due to schedules I don’t know if I’ll be able to roll it out this year and may have to wait until next year to get it going, but that just means I can do it back to back with my initial course again on the knee. This one focuses on the shoulder and will help fellow trainers and other therapists learn pathology and solutions for things like rotator cuff problems, labral tears, tennis elbow and more!
The third exciting thing is I’m finally putting together a short Ebook on total back care and recovery from back injury. I’m excited to say that this offering will be FREE and will provide comprehensive information about your spinal health including recovery movements, strength movements and some things you can focus on to make sure back injury never comes back once it’s gone!
So essentially besides training my clients all the time I have a lot on the go. If you have any interest in anything I’ve discussed please let me know and I’m happy to sign you up for updates and get you on my mailing list for the new Ebook and course offering. Just click on the subscribe button at the top right!
And, as always you can follow me on Facebook and other social media outlets.
Just a quick update for today, but much, much more to come in the future from the Institute!
A recent study in the Journal of American Medical Association Pediatrics found conclusively that for teenagers between the ages of 14-18, a combination of weight training plus cardiovascular work is the best way to “fight teen obesity”. This is the headlines that went up all over the country and internet saying that the amazing findings of this study were that if teenagers did strength training and cardio work combined instead of just one or the other, they would lose more weight.
This is news?
I hate to say it but that was my first reaction. However, when I took a closer look at this study I found that there were in my opinion some flaws in the methods used to determine this conclusion.
Basically this study, which you can read HERE took 304 overweight teens and put them into four groups, one of each doing only strength training OR cardio, one doing nothing, and one doing a combination. They did this program for 22 weeks (almost six months!). They were also given diet counselling. At the end, the group that did the combination of both was found to have lost less body fat overall (compared to the strength training group), but their waist size decreased the most – by a whole centimeter. That’s not even one whole pant size.
Therefore this shows that a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training is better than strength training alone or cardio alone. Again, this isn’t news to anyone (I sincerely hope). This has been proven time and again to be the best approach for those of you out there who are looking to drop inches and pounds.
But when we look a little closer, the criteria for what they consider “overweight” has some flaws. They cited overweight as at or above 95th percentile of BMI or 85th if there was one or more risk factors or health condition already existing (like diabetes). So this means that a teenager with a BMI of above 28.5 (the cutoff for 95th highest BMI percentile according to statisticians) is overweight or obese.
Do you know what that means? An 18 year old who is 5’10” and 180 pounds qualifies for this study as an “overweight teen”. A BMI of 24 actually falls into the 85th percentile of qualification. So if my daughter is 5’3” and weighs 135 pounds according to this study she is overweight. Oh, and another note – when she turns 18, even if she is the same height and weight suddenly she has dropped to the 74th percentile. Does that make sense?
Pretty much any athletic teen is going to weigh at last that much and sometimes more. Using BMI as a method of overweight is a highly flawed criteria in my opinion. There’s a lot of other flaws. They obviously weren’t all following the same diet. Who knows how many workouts they actually completed on their own. It didn’t indicate if any of them were athletes previously, inactive or high level performers. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch for a 16 year old football player to be 5’8 and 160 pounds but have very low body fat and high muscle mass.
So this made national (actually international) news because we heard about it up here in Canada. I guess it was a slow news cycles, what with war in the Middle East and a deadly epidemic spreading around the world.
The simple fact is that kids today don’t get enough exercise. Currently 59% of adults in Canada are overweight or obese in Canada (as of 2012). We can blame a lot of things here. Increased screen time, lack of physical education and after school sports programs, deteriorating nutrition both at home and at school and simply the fact that overweight parents tend to have overweight children because kids learn many things from their parents, not the least of which is eating habits. The medical industry unfortunately can’t or won’t help because many doctors have no clue about proper diet and exercise habits themselves. Many doctors I have worked with or attended have been relatively clueless about these things because it really isn’t their job to know about it even though they are expected to.
However, if you do have a young teenager or someone younger at home then the good news is you can keep their weight down. Guess what’s a great way to get both cardio and resistance exercise without a gym?
Whether your kid is an individual sport kid (like I was – I ran track, did cross country skiing and played all racquet sports) or a team sport kid (like my sister who played basketball and hockey) there are a couple of dozen options available for each type. And even if the cost is prohibitive to a budget for things like hockey, there are tons of community resources available in any city for parents who want affordable exercise for their kids. Even something like martial arts isn’t ridiculously expensive, teaches really great fundamentals of coordination, discipline and uses lots of strength at the same time. Finding time as a busy parent can be hard, but what’s the priority – a healthy, happy kid or a promotion at work?
The sad thing is that I have trained kids as young as 8 and 10, and they could barely balance enough to walk slowly on a treadmill. Kids just simply don’t learn these things when they are developing any more. I could go on a rant about parenting and education these days but I’ll save that for another time.
So if you have a teen that is struggling with weight, maybe a good option is to get them to put down the Ipad, register them for a few sports or activities to see what they enjoy doing and get them being active and moving around more. Long term they will be much better off for so many reasons. Maybe even do it with them if you need help as well. Things like martial arts or even group exercise are easy to do with your teenager. Take your kid for a run or a bike ride on the weekends instead of staying inside. Take the whole family out for a long hike without any technology.
Like I said at the beginning, it isn’t news that kids need more exercise, or that a combination of things is likely to help them lose that extra centimeter. But it starts with actually getting them involved with exercise.
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