As someone who works in the field of rehabilitation and fitness, we often get numerous questions about progressions/regressions and the pathway to recovery. Often, these questions are targeting longer term treatments (1 – 6 months). By acute injury, I am referring to minor injuries that can be mostly resolved between 1 – 3 weeks. This time frame only holds true if you are treating it immediately and daily. If you are concerned about your injury it is recommended that you see a qualified professional to get it diagnosed. Ask your personal trainer in Richmond for their injury experiences. 

A backstory of how this article came about. Last week I was training in the gym and I was working on lower body explosiveness. I have chosen a few movements that focused on triple-hip extension (ie. power cleans) and moving weights at a high velocity. For those who have not performed a power clean before, it is essentially using the entire body to toss the weight up into your arms and catching it. The clean works on the legs and hips in a very synchronized fashion to simulate jumping, sprinting and other explosive movements. The power clean requires a shrug of the shoulders before the “second” pull of the movement. On one of the repetitions it turns out that I hyperextended by neck and have “tweaked” it. 

In the upcoming three days, I experienced neck pain and restricted range-of-motion. How did I take action and treated my neck pain in upcoming week? In this article, I will be going through the steps that I took.  

Rest

Have you heard of R.I.C.E.? This is the protocol you should be following to manage any acute injuries. In this case I did not apply compression or elevation, but I applied ice and a lot of rest. In the first 1 – 2 days it is recommended that you let it rest mainly because it is painful and is most likely swollen or inflamed. The ice helps decrease the inflammation and pain levels. I recommend ice to be applied 3 – 5 times per day for 20 minutes each time. More importantly, REST. Take some time off training and sports. The worst thing that can happen is for you to re-injure an injury. Recovery time will be twice as long. Ask your personal trainer in Richmond about appropriate rest times for an injury. 

Low-intensity exercises and mobility movements

Once you have moved past day 1 or 2 and pain levels have somewhat subsided, you may begin slowly working on the injured area. You must be 100% cautious of your movements and its range. Slight discomfort during the exercise is acceptable, but any pain is not. I often tell clients that a pain level of 3/10 is acceptable (10 being unbearable pain). The purpose of beginning exercise is to promote blood flow into the injured area in order to deliver nutrients and remove waste. 

With my neck injury I focused on mainly postural and rear-deltoid exercises. I ensured that I did not have any upper trapezii activation and mainly activated my middle back (lower trapezii area). This is so that I don’t further cause restriction in my neck.  In addition I added simple mobility exercises such as neck rotation and chin-tucks. Range-of-motion and mobility is important in all cases. Ask your personal trainer in Richmond for exercise and mobility recommendations.

Stretch

This is referring to stretching of the muscle rather than range-of-motion. When you have an injury, your body will freak out and over-activate muscles to protect your body. This is why you feel tight muscles – it is to hold everything in place. Yes, these muscles will eventually relax back to their originally state overtime. However, you can speed this process up by actively stretching them. There is no limit with stretching. You can stretch these muscles 100 times a day if you like. At this point you should be approximately 5 – 6 days into your injury. Things won’t be at 100% but they should be feel better. 

Every individual, athlete and coach has a different approach to injuries. Remember to choose the approach that makes the most sense to you with the lowest level of pain-levels.

 

Until next time, 

Coach Marco 

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