1. No static stretching before a workout
Congratulations on spending some of your focus on warming up before your activity. Your head is in the right place! But think again. Static stretching (stretching your hamstrings by bending forward and reaching for your toes) elongates muscles without necessarily increasing blood flow. Research shows that static stretching before a workout can actually lead to increased injury. Of course there are exceptions, but think of it as a general rule of thumb.
Dynamic stretching (bear walks, walking lunges, Russian baby makers, etc.), is essentially getting a stretch in while you are moving. This allows you to load your muscles, joints, fascia while moving without putting undo strain on them. The idea is to take your joints through their basic ranges of motion and achieving a little stretch at that end range. Here is the RBM in action:
2. Don't just think about pain - Get screened
While it is true that many people come into my office when they are in bad shape, that does not have to be the case! There are signs of injury (decreased muscle firing, posture asymmetries) long before pain rears its ugly head. Sometimes, by the time pain is present, the damage has been done (tears in soft tissue, disc herniation, etc.).
It takes little to no effort to come in, get a structural and functional exam, and get some insight on how to not only prevent injury, but give your performance a boost. Even if you believe you are firing on all cylinders, there is always room for improvement; Which makes it fun, right?
4. If you are scheduled to get surgery, don’t.
Unless you have to. But don’t.
5. Stop the movement before it starts to hurt and don't skip your mobs
Okay, that is two things. Often times I will hear athletes tell me that their neck felt a little bit off, but it didn’t hurt that bad, so they kept going. Again this is your body asking for help. Stop the movement, do some mobility and basic muscle activation and see if you can resume the movement. If it still hurts, it is time to see a professional.
By the same token, do not workout in pain. Of course many professional athletes and competitors will work out with injuries under the care of a pack of healthcare professionals. They are (hopefully) making a well calculated sacrifice in the name of sport. When you workout in pain, you reinforce those pain pathways in the brain. This is often how injuries become chronic. Are there exceptions to this rule? Of course, however I would check with your local body mechanic (i.e. sports chiro).
6. Let me know what your last workout/ training session was
Tell me what you have been doing with yourself. What was your last workout? Did you feel off or have any soreness? Have you been doing your corrective exercises? Did you have some pain overhead or notice that one shoulder tends to want to travel up into your ears? Did you just get off a 5 hour flight? Keeping me in the loop allows me to hone in and assess you at each visit and give you the most specific adjustments and correctives possible. It is truly a team effort!
Your Sports Chiropractor
Dr. Drwencke is a sports chiropractor, speaker, & clinical athlete in San Francisco. Her posts reflect some of the day to day interactions and questions from patients and clients. Dr. Drwencke strives to empower people through injury rehab and sports performance to lead healthy, productive lives.