Why do we get injured? Are there steps we can take to avoid injury? Will I ever get better? Well to answer these questions: depends, yes and kind of. Thanks for reading! Bye.
As if that is it! Although it seems as most injuries are either of random origin (ie. Drunkenly lifting up your buddy at the bar while trying to imitate the infamous Dirty Dancing scene) or seem to arise out of the blue, there are some common trends as to why people seem to get injured.
I do not have a crystal ball but I can tell you the three most common predictors of injury that I know/treat so you can put on your Miss Cleo turban, shuffle your deck of tarot cards and shine up your crystal ball to figure out for yourself of whether you are at risk of developing a new and/or aggravating an old injury.
#1 – Repetitive Strain
This is usually the root cause for 90% of the issues I treat (in some form or another) and directly contributes to #2 on my list! Repetitive strain means doing something of low or high force repetitively; and when I say repetitively I mean like thousands of times over long periods of time (like decades even).
The number one cause of repetitive strain is sitting! Think about it, you sit for hours upon hours per day for years upon years. As your body adapts/degrades from this repetitive activity it slowly strains over time (see my blog post on postural deconditioning). This slow strain essentially weakens you from everything that is not sitting and that is how you become injured.
If you have pain somewhere and you don’t know why it is there (nothing happened to injure it) it is likely because of repetitive strain.
#2 – Old Injury
The old adage goes ‘you break it you buy it.’ This is true for your body, if you break it then you own that…forever. Just think about it, once something breaks it will always be weakest in the place it broke; especially if you do nothing about it.
Sorry to be all doom and gloom but this is the unfortunate reality of how injuries work in most cases. Why in most cases? Because we are lazy and think everything will fix itself over time. This is kind of true but what actually happens if you leave an injury without treating it is that the injured tissue becomes remodeled and the surrounding tissue starts to compensate. We then develop weird habits and muscle firing patterns as a result of changes/dysfunctional tissue and over time we re-injure this area.
However, if you get a proper assessment and/or treatment for a new injury in the early stages, preventative steps can be taken to help the body fix this issue faster without developing the compensation and dysfunction that normally follows.
#3 – New Activity
Let’s continue to harp on this old adage theme and throw out another one, ‘practice makes perfect’. So referencing back to #1 we can confirm we have all practiced being good perfect at sitting so when we introduce a new activity the body can be slow to respond. Now starting a new activity doesn’t directly correlate to developing a new injury but considering most of us go all-in and over do it when we try something new, it becomes a common way to develop a new injury.
You should always ease into a new activity the same way you ease into a cold lake; after time, once fully immersed you should have nothing to worry about (other than shrinkage).
So to wrap things up here are my suggestions to avoid injuries:
1.) Don’t get injured!
2.) Take care of your body by investing time/treatment/therapy into by working with professionals trained to prevent injuries.
3.) Three, move around more! Don’t allow repetitive strain the opportunity to ruin your body.
Remember, “nobody puts baby in a corner” so get out there and move around!
Written by Dr. Alim Kara BSc, DC