Hello friends! This week's post is dedicated to anyone who has been given rehabilitative exercises and thought: “I'm in a lot of pain and doing these hurt, so I'm just going to wait until the pain goes away to get stronger”.
I'd like to take a minute to try and motivate you to keep trying!
When your body is first damaged, it sends signals to your brain saying that something is wrong (in the damaged tissue) and the response from your brain is the pain signal. This is used to protect you from doing more damage to the injured area. Your body then changes the way you move, and a constant pathway is created from your brain saying that if you use the injured tissue you will hurt.
You then use the structures surrounding the injured area to support you during your activities, even though this is not their primary job. After a while these structures will become tired and burnt out and more injuries will happen.
By the time your body has had time to do some repair and remodeling (see: renovations!), your brain has already formed a pathway telling you that using this tissue will cause you more pain. Now you have a weakened tissue, that's likely formed scar tissue, and is getting weaker by the day.
Rehabilitative exercises are used to correct these pathways and put the focus back on the injured area. They should start after your body has had time to renovate to the best of it's ability – your health care provider (see: friendly 404 Chiropractor!) will help you figure out which stage of healing you are in.
Now it's time to get to work. If you completely avoid doing the movement that originally caused your pain, that structure will continue to get weaker and weaker, and you will become more and more sore. If you slowly start to rebuild that tissue, it regains it's function, takes the pressure off the surrounding structures, and most importantly: starts changing the way your brain perceives the movement!
Once your brain is convinced that moving the way that you're supposed to move doesn't hurt anymore, you will stop feeling the pain. But if you keep avoiding it, there's nothing anyone can do to get rid of the pain for you. So if you've been told to start rehabilitative exercises, keep moving, keep trying and you'll be feeling better soon!