If you’ve ever had any amount of musculoskeletal or even nervous system pain evaluated by a medical, sports performance, or rehab professional, I’m sure you are familiar with the idea of “overuse injuries.”
We often use this terminology to describe an injury that did not come from a traumatic incident, but rather from poor movement patterns, lack of strength and stability, or a fatigue related condition that develops when someone plays a sport or works in an environment that requires repetitive motion and usage from them frequently or on a daily basis. However, I think it’s time that we begin to allow the verbiage used to describe these conditions to people to change.
The call for change is rooted in a couple of different schools of thought. First of all, as more data and research is released, we are learning more and more the importance of the development and maintenance of a strong and resilient body for anyone who seeks to improve their longevity, decrease their pain experience, increase their quality of life, improve their fitness and health, and so much more.
The terminology of an “overuse injury” implies or indicates that there is a need to decrease the overall use in order to eliminate the problem that is causing the dysfunction. But the truth of the matter is, it is, in fact, most often, the exact opposite. We need people to move their bodies more.
Is there a time for finding ways to move around the pain instead of pushing into it? Absolutely. Should we focus early on on movement to tolerance as to not majorly increase inflammatory and nervous system responses that are associated with their current pain experience? Absolutely. But do we want to encourage people to stop moving or using their bodies? Absolutely not.
So on the idea of a verbiage change, we know what we want to eliminate, but what do we plan to replace it with? The recommendation that I’ve heard tossed around and that I like the most is the idea of deeming these kinds of injuries an “under preparedness” problem. This more accurately describes why people develop pain in these situations and indicates or encourages the proper solution to the problem, which is finding ways to become better prepared for the things in life that you love and enjoy, but that may also require a lot of your body. It indicates the importance of strength and mobility and stability and endurance and resilience and everything we aim to instill in everyone who steps foot into our practice. It reminds us that proactive health care is far more valuable and saves us time and money and heartbreak in the future by helping us avoid injury and pain almost entirely.
So help us begin to make the change today by encouraging your friends, family, and community, to seek out the guidance of a performance physical therapist like us at Off The Block performance physical therapy to help them be prepared for everything they want to do in life instead of existing in an unprepared state.
And if you’d like our help determining where your body is most under prepared for the things that you love most about your active lifestyle, give us a call or come see us!