Preventative Maintenance can keep you in the gym!

Injuries – athletes’ and gym lovers’ biggest fear! There is nothing worse for an active person than the impairment to move the way they are used to. An injury of any kind is discouraging, makes you lose motivation and distances you from your goals. It can happen to anyone, no matter what your experience or fitness level is. Common workout injuries include: shin splint, knee pain, wrist strain, rotator cuff injury, muscle pull and strain, low back pain, sprained ankle, and many others. Fortunately, you can significantly decrease your risk of getting hurt with regular preventative maintenance.

Recovery is just as important for your goals as your workout. People seem to focus a lot more on training hard, which is good, but the value of recovery should not be neglected. During workout your body receives the signals to change; the change itself happens at rest. The better the quality of the rest, the faster the change. When the recovery is not sufficient, it is a lot more likely to make a mistake while performing a certain exercise, which might lead to a serious injury. The widespread belief that only hard work makes your gym goals happen, is partly true. Hard work cannot last long without decent rest after it.

Preventative maintenance like cupping, dry needling, physical therapy, stretching and flossing can boost your exercise recovery, making the body more than ready for the next workout. While periods with intense frequency of these therapies are used to heal injuries, regular procedures every once in a while are a must for anyone, who wants to train consistently and injury free. Benefits like released muscle tension, improvement in strength and conditioning, better posture and mobility, would be noticed very soon after including such therapies in your routine. There is no need to wait for a problem to occur, in order to take care of your body. Small, but steady actions towards sufficient rest can keep you in the gym! Here is a brief overview of each of the therapies mentioned; chose the one, which would be most suitable for you, and give it a try.

  • Cupping therapy is an ancient Chinese method of healing, which is performed by applying cups to selected body parts and creating sub-atmospheric pressure, promoting peripheral blood circulation. Increasing the blood supply under a specific area aids in muscle health and functionality, clearing out pathogens, and boosting the immune response. Many studies conducted on cupping therapy unanimously reported benefits in the treatment of localized diseases (neck pain, lower back pain, knee pain) and systematic diseases (diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and rheumatoid arthritis). (1)
  • Dry needling involves the insertion of thin monofilament needles into, alongside, or around nerves, muscles, or connective tissues for the management of dysfunction in neuromusculoskeletal conditions. It provides relief for muscular pain and stiffness, and improves function through the release of myofascial trigger points (knots in the muscle). There is an interesting study comparing the effectiveness of dry needling versus first-line treatment for lateral epicondylitis (LE). (2) In this painful condition, commonly known as “tennis elbow”, the forearm muscles become damaged from overuse, which can lead to loss of motion or function of the elbow, if the disease is left untreated. The first-line treatment for LE is conservative and consists of topical and oral anti-inflammatory drugs, and ice application. The study analyzed 92 patients. Although both treatment methods were effective at three weeks, dry needling was significantly more effective than the first-line treatment at six months.
  • Physical therapy helps people with all kinds of injuries or illnesses regain their regular abilities to move and function properly. Treatment techniques include massage, electrotherapy and muscle strengthening, which are conducted by physical therapists. Physical therapist (PTs) are movement experts with deep knowledge in anatomy, biology, physiology and chemistry. Their main job is usually to help people rehabilitate injuries, but they can also help athletes prevent injuries before they happen. If you are someone who loves to workout, a session with a PT could be really beneficial for you, because they identify body imbalances and risk factors that may predispose you to injury, or inhibit your physical performance. By assessing these factors, injuries could be prevented. (3)
  • Nerve flossing and stretching exercises aim to stretch irritated nerves, which improves their range of motion and reduce pain. Nerve flossing fits really well in a combination with physical therapy. Regular stretching has tons of benefits and it could be included in the warming up, and in the post effort recovery as well. It increases muscular elasticity and joint mobility, activates some muscular groups that tend to shorten their length in case of long-term effort, and reduces muscle tension after the activity. (4) Cross-sectional studies have demonstrated that flexibility is related to performance in many sports, suggesting that using stretching to enhance flexibility leads to improved performance. (5)

In general, all of these therapies are interesting to try and have their own specific benefits. A few things that remain common after each procedure, despite their differences, are:

  • elevated relaxation
  • reduction of inflammation and pain from muscle soreness
  • increased blood circulation where your muscles need it the most
  • stress alleviation
  • lowered tightness and increased range of motion.

Do not hesitate to visit our health club at [Hidden Gym], if you are from Allen, Plano or Dallas. Many experienced professional at our full service physical therapy clinic, would be more than happy to explain you everything you need to know about proper preventative maintenance, how to spot your weaknesses and train safely. Together with them you can choose the practice that will have the best impact on your overall health and fitness, according to your individual needs and goals. Remember that there is nothing more important than your health and it should always be your priority. Regular exercise is the first step for a healthy and fulfilling life, but keeping yourself in the gym is the second! [Hidden Gym] aims to help you get the most of your workouts and bring out the best version of you.

Key words: Allen, Plano, Dallas, Hidden Gym, Recovery, Rest, Cupping, Dry Needling, Physical Therapy, Stretching and Flossing, Health Club, Gym, Workout

References:

  1. Cupping Therapy: An Overview from a Modern Medicine Perspective
  2. Dry needling in lateral epicondylitis: a prospective controlled study
  3. Physical Therapy’s Role in Wellness and Injury Prevention
  4. STRETCHING AND ITS BENEFITS
  5. Stretching for Performance Enhancement