In his own words, Physical Therapist Eric Kopp talked to our group on Saturday, May 12. Read the highlights from his talk.
Actively listen to your body. Anticipate injuries before they are produced. When you have an injury switch gears to a different exercise that is not provocative.
All tissues in the body react to stress and load differently. When the tissue load demand is greater than the capacity of the tissue, injury occurs, it is that simple. You can choose to rest and wait to get better or continue to train at the same level. The symptoms that are generated by an injured tissue should have a pattern or expected pain pattern that reinforces this. If you can understand this concept, it makes sense to continue to actively condition just with less tissue load/demand/volume.
We are all very often guilty of not continuing with active conditioning. REST is very important for recuperation, but active rest, meaning small doses of restitution exercise to facility tissue recovery, noursishment and ultimately healing is how we want our patients and athletes to think. In other words, if I hurt my arm doing arm curls with a 50 lbs dumbbell and then wait two days to do the same weight and exercise again, it makes sense that I will re-injure the tissue. HOWEVER, If I chose simple exercises that condition the arm (for example, triceps pushdowns, lat pulldowns, seated rows, biceps curls with 10lbs pain free) with lighter weights and very high reps ( like 3 sets of 30-40), I will not re-injure my arm and I won’t lose any conditioning.
DO NOT under estimate the spine to reproduce symptoms similar to familiar aches and pains in the arms and legs. We very often see people in the clinic with long standing symptoms that appear to be in the hip or buttock/leg and the patient has been trying to stretch out this pain or rub or foam roll it, but the symptoms have been very stubborn to respond. When you understand how certain tissues behave as well as heal, you can develop an expectation for how symptoms should get better. When they do not behave according to plan, there needs to be a reason. Either this is NOT the problem you think it is or you are loading and stressing the tissue at fault too much.
Employ dynamic stretching and movement prep into your before the activity and do the static stretching post activity when your tissues are like hot plastic and deformable.
Get Better ONE TIME. Take care of your injuries early. Training into the injury (no pain no gain) can cause irreversible tissue problemsTendons can go from simple tendonitises to more complex tendonopathies where healing can often be severely compromised.
MIX it up! Cross train. If you are still in your twenties you can get away with runs in excess of 5 miles on back to back days. The thirty year old athlete should allow for restitution days or what I like to call tissue feeding days. The life of a triathlete is all about volume. Think of swimming days as REST days for the joints in the legs, i.e. hips, knees and ankles, while still getting plenty of conditioning. Arm injuries, particularly in the shoulder, need light weight conditioning on restitution days. Consider lat pulldowns or seated rows. These are JOINT feeding exercises. If knee tendons, or joints are sore cycling is a great way for tissue restitution.
If any symptoms or problems last for more than 2-3 weeks, consider contacting a physical therapist at PROEX PT for an injury screening.
In addition to treating patients in the CT/Western MA region, Eric serves as the Co-Director of Clinical Education for ProEx Physical Therapy. Eric’s teaching experience includes an adjunct faculty position at Quinnipiac University teaching in the Advanced Masters program and he maintains an active clinical teaching regimen in topics related to orthopedic manual therapy. Eric’s years of clinical and teaching experience makes him a valuable member to the clinical education program.