Chances are at sometime or another during one of your workouts that you may well pick up a little niggle or an injury.
Especially as we get older the chance becomes higher as we’re often paying for old problems that we neglected when we were younger (like I did).
All of this isn’t a given, and of course we can do things to limit the chance of it ever happening – through things such as proper warm up (especially at this time of year), things like foam rolling and massages through to even things like yoga or pilates if that’s your cup of tea.
And of course the biggest thing that we can do is be smart and listen to your body. I know now for example that after my history of elbow issues I need to go easy on my upper body training workload from time to time.
Doesn’t mean I ignore it, I just chose what I do and when and then when I do something like a chin up that places more load through it, I give it some time before I do it again.
So yes, we can try and avoid things by being as smart as we can possibly be.
But sometimes, and often for no rhyme or reason, we end up picking up a little niggle here and there.
Often it’s doing something that isn’t even during one of our normal workouts when we’re normally more conscious of what we are doing form wise.
The weekend was an example of that for me and a reminder that you might need to be reminded of how to look after things when it does pop up.
I was in a kids playground and Jade wanted to go on the slide. This wasn’t the traditional slide with a ladder, it was more on a hill so I had to negotiate that and the kids coming up as I was coming down. I got down and noticed a niggle behind my knee – not my usual place for knee pain and thought that’s not good.
When we finally got home that afternoon I threw the icepack on it.
And that should be your first step.
Get some ice and throw it on there for 10-15 minutes.
The first 72 hours after you pick up a minor niggle like this is the key to speeding up your recovery cause it can help reduce the swelling and inflammation.
Funny thing is I forgot to do it on Monday cause it was feeling okay and the only time I thought about it was when it wasn’t convenient to do so ie when
I was out and about or in the shower and I got sidetracked when I could’ve done it – not an excuse – just a fact that I should’ve prioritised it when I didn’t.
It was only when I was demoing an exercise on Tuesday morning that I noticed it again and reminded me that I should get back onto it and also to give you a friendly reminder to look after your little niggles when they pop up.
So for me that should be your first priority – ice it as often as you can for that first 3 day period post injury.
Of course if it’s more serious, you’ll want to book in a physio treatment or whatever mode of treatment works best for you.
The reminder here is to avoid heat cause it can increase the bleeding in the area.
Heat is more appropriate if it’s a chronic long term niggle like a stiff neck or whatever.
As for whether you should stay off it or keep training, the old rest theory has been part of the proper injury treatment protocol for years but this has been open to debate lately.
I’m more inclined to lean towards the rest thing, but if it’s only a minor concern, you might want to lightly test it out and see if you can use it.
For my knee for example, I’m about to go for a shorter walk than normal to test it out.
Then I will ice again afterwards regardless of whether it’s sore or feels okay.
But the most important thing is I’ll be avoiding anything like squats or other movements that would place more tension on it over the next week.
Obviously every niggle is going to be different for each person, so the most important thing as usual is to listen to your body so it doesn’t become any worse and of course if it continues longer than a few days and is something more than just a little niggle then get the appropriate treatment.
That will ensure it is only a minor setback and not a regular thing that will compromise your training in the long term.
Hopefully this is a helpful reminder to you that a) to be smart when a little niggle does come up and b) a reminder that we’re not 21 anymore so we can’t train like we used to.
The other reminder is to make sure in winter when it’s obviously colder to not rush your warm up – even if you’re late. Do it properly and then join in when you’ve finished that.
PS – how’s your workout tally looking as part of your DPM Winter Olympics campaign?
(And remember bringing a friend along gets you 5 bonus points and another 5 when they join after their 2 week trial)
Leaderboard coming on Friday.