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Troubleshooting Strength Injuries: Dealing with Injury

Please note: The following information, content, and material of this article are meant for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as medical advice toward a specific injury or a substitute for a direct consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment by a qualified physician or healthcare provider. With the knowledge that many athletes in the strength sports attempt a “go-it-alone” approach to injury, this information is provided to help individuals better understand their role and make smarter choices regarding recovery from injury.

Those who read the Troubleshooting Strength Injury Series are likely to fall into one of two camps. The first camp is someone who has previously been injured. People in this camp are likely looking for information to better explain their past injury and how to better avoid future injury. Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 have likely provided a lot of value to them. Camp 2 are those who are currently injured and trying to find help during their recovery from injury. For those individuals, Part 5 is incredibly useful.

Parts 1-4 of the series have covered the concepts of injury, how to identify the warning signs of an impending injury, how to work around mild injury while still progressing in your training or sport, and finally, how to understand the interrelated factors that affect the body’s readiness to train (current training, current state of the body, faith, and recoverability) – a process known as auto-regulation. Everyone should be reading Parts 1-4, but for those in Camp 1, these are likely the most valuable parts of the series.

The point of Parts 1-4 is to help people understand how to listen to the information their body is relaying to them and to be able to move forward in their training, competition, etc., without being derailed by injury. The amount of time and information spent on this process should be an indicator on how much effort needs to be placed on prevention and being able to intelligently work through the ups and downs of training to improve. Too many athletes are short-sighted and are unable to see the big picture. Regardless of the sport you compete in, the key to success is longevity. The two biggest reasons for quitting a sport are:

  1. You suck at said sport, and;

  2. Your body is too injured to continue.

No one quits a sport because they are tired of the sport. If someone says that’s the reason, it probably leads back to the above two statements.

Very few people reach their potential because of the inability to stay healthy over a long period of time. There is no amount of improvement that is worth a severe injury. Six months of pushing past your body’s capabilities and then being injured for three months is a shitty way to progress. Yet many fall into this trap and spend a large portion of their career with nagging injuries that hinder performance.

By spending time to truly understand and apply Parts 1-4 of this series, many can limit this cycle of pushing their body to the point of injury, and then trying to come back from that injury. I use the word “limit” very strategically, as no matter what, injury is a part of every sport. The goal here is to help reduce the severity and frequency of injuries.

If you are truly pushing for performance, you will always flirt with the line where peak performance ends and injury begins. If someone promises injury-free training or an injury-free career, they are either lying to you or haven’t done anything worthwhile in their own athletic career to know what they are talking about.

So, considering the above, what happens if you do find yourself in the wake of more serious injury? To clarify, a serious injury is an injury that cannot be worked around and actually removes you from training or competition. This would include significant muscle strains and tears, back spasms, or herniated discs, etc. It is not “I pulled my hamstring squatting Saturday, finished my training, and on Tuesday, it still felt too sore to deadlift.”

At this point, auto-regulating your training has not helped, and significant tissue healing must occur in order to get back to training at 100 percent. For those in Camp 2 – those who are currently dealing with a significant injury, Part 5 will help serve as a road map to recovery.

1. Get an Idea of What is Going on

2. Finding Quality Health Care

3. Moving Forward

4. Reduce Inflammation and Pain

5. Keep Moving - Pain-Free

6. Don't Be Afraid to Continue Training

7. Lower Back-Specific Tips

8. Learn From Your Mistakes

To read more in depth about the road map to recovery, you can read Dr. Detweiler's full article at, Troubleshooting Strength Injuries: Dealing with Injury.

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