Exercise can be a double-edged sword – done incorrectly or inappropriately, it can cause acute injury, but the deconditioning which occurs as a result of a lack of exercise can also predispose a person to injury, usually of the chronic kind.
There is a lot of confusion as well around the role or place of exercise in a person’s life when injured. Many people assume that total rest is needed for recovery, while others want to prove their mettle by “pushing through” injury.
The truth is that exercise is extremely important in recovery from, and management and prevention of, injury.
Late last year, a regular client, Emma, experienced a bad flare-up of sciatica, a condition which she had dealt with intermittently for years and which had required frequent chiropractic adjustments.
As a personal trainer, it’s as my job to help people to improve the quality of their lives through exercise. With Emma’s consent, I was able to communicate with her chiropractor regarding the details of her sciatica, which was related to sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Through assessment of her muscle activation, gait, and flexibility, I ascertained that tightness in her hamstrings and gluteus maximus muscles, coupled with inhibition of her gluteus medius, were contributing to this problem. While she continued to work with her chiropractor, we focused during her personal training sessions on creating functional pelvic stability and core support through a progressive series of exercises and activities which included self-myofascial release using tennis balls and foam rollers, static stretches, and activation exercises. Emma was committed to doing the exercises prescribed in her own time as well, which was a huge contributing factor to the success of the program.
Emma has reported a lot of success with the program. She has not had a serious flare-up of sciatica since we incorporated the prescribed exercises into her program, and has required fewer chiropractic adjustments overall.
I’m very proud of Emma’s commitment to this process: rather than letting a painful condition derail her progress, or trying to prove a point by pushing through the pain, she has made the most of the resources available to her and followed an evidence-based strategy which has resulted in her now being able to perform a greater range of exercises and to live and move without limitation.
Here’s what Emma had to say about her experience:
“Mae-Lin is the first fitness professional who has actually taken an interest in helping heal my decade-long condition.
After speaking with my physician (with my blessing), she researched my condition and what exercises I could do, regularly and by myself, to strengthen my physical weakness rather than “work around it”.
I cannot describe how grateful I am to Mae-Lin for this – a future without regular treatment, as a result of exercise rather than surgery, is a dream come true.”
If you’re interested in incorporating exercise into your strategy for managing injury or chronic pain, call me on 0422 124 244 or leave a comment in the space below.