Principle: ALL injuries are caused by the body’s inability to absorb force
You can stop reading now if you get it. In case you want it broken down further, here we go…
Musculature is the primary force absorbing structure in the body, and failure to absorb force properly could occur if:
- muscle is not strong enough
- muscle can’t fire at the appropriate time
- there is interference of transmission of signals from nervous system to musculature (could cause reasons #1 and/or #2 to occur)
If musculature is not able to absorb force properly, an injury could occur in that structure, or in another structure (i.e. soft tissue, other muscle, outer bone). So, an injury may end in a different area that it began, since everything in the body’s system is connected (i.e. dysfunction in lower leg/foot leading to knee/hip/low back/upper extremity injury).
Principle applied to strength rehab/training
Once injury is no longer acute (think freshly sprained ankle, no fracture but very swollen, can’t walk on it for first 2 days, etc.), stop the specific activity that caused the injury (i.e. running, overhead throwing), then:
- train the muscle(s) to be strong enough to absorb force at an appropriate level during a related movement
- train the muscle(s) to fire at the appropriate time during a related movement
- remove interference from the nervous system
There are many modes to accomplish this, but the goal is to actively (!!!) get a muscle group that may have shortened (maybe as a protective mechanism after an injury) to get back to a greater length, and most importantly, to get strong at that new joint angle/range-of-motion so that the body knows what to do in this position. This process, like every other, takes time.
Generally, the formula that gets the best long-term results is:
Lots of Movement x Intent x Nourishment x Time
An example, with instructions
Alex has recurring knee pain, which has also lead to hamstring pulls over the years. Training movements displayed weakness in his foot/lower leg, which could have caused an injury that ended in his knee and hamstrings (since an injury can end in a different area than it begins). Strength rehab/training program calls for:
Lots of movement: (1st progression of building a huge foundation of strength-endurance. Can address reasons #1 and #2 of muscle not doing its job.)
Sample movements: Single Leg Calf Raises x 150 reps each leg (including the non-injured one); 3-Way Hip Circles x 50-100 reps each leg, each direction; Lunge Hold x 3 minutes each side (*will have to rule out ACL tears, meniscus tears, etc. before progressing here).
(Q: Why so many reps? It usually takes ~3500 repetitions of something for it become habit/done without thinking about it, so rehab is a bitch, by nature). 300 rep schemes call for movement done with intent at a clip of 1 rep per second over a 5 minute span (60 x 5 = 300 reps)
Ideally, movement progression would be from training to absorb force in position, to absorbing force repeatedly (think catching bottom position of a push up, etc.), to creating force quickly and repeatedly (think catching bottom position of a push up immediately pushing back up to starting position in as short a time-frame as possible). Most of the time and for most of the population, training to absorb force with holds can accomplish plenty, and interest is lost before progressing because they feel better.
Intent: Determine the reason why you want to be healthier, pain-free (i.e. so you can continue to hike with spouse, have sex, play a sport, etc.) and then train with that cue/signal in your head. If training will help return to a competition, train at the same emotional level at which you would compete.
Nourishment: Think good thoughts, eat real food, sleep/nap, breathe in and out of your nose, get outside (or Vitamin D3 for our Scandinavian readers), believe in the process, etc. And, since I’m studying it in school and have seen it first-hand, principled Chiropractic care can clear any nerve interference to musculature (among other things) in the nervous system which could be a reason for muscles not firing properly/at the right time.
Time: Body will heal on its own terms, whenever it’s ready, without breaking any sort of physiological laws. Don’t try to shortcut nature, and know that consistency trumps almost everything. (Refer to Chiropractic Principle #6)
Here’s a few related notes (in rant form):
- No one else will ever “heal” you. Be wary of people who claim that they accomplished something that your body accomplished through either time, your hard work, nourishment/training/rest/diet/good thoughts (unless you actually worked with God, a disciple, etc.). You’re the real winner here, son/daughter.
- There’s no magic bullet, and trying to trade off short-term results will bite you in the ass in the long-run
- Injuries aren’t corrected by altering/fixing mechanics, nor are they caused by bad mechanics
- All training should be restorative in nature
- The level of intentional disturbance going into the body to heal an injury has to be greater than the level of unintentional disturbance which caused the injury
- This is all our best guesses. Everything works until it doesn’t.