Most major back injuries occur from a simple twist and reaching action like getting something from a cupboard or picking something small up. That action is never the reason for the injury. Years of unawareness, lack of mobility and not listening are are the causes of most injuries.
Here are 5 ways I feel injury can be prevented.
This is the obvious one. As a human being we create habits in our movements and posture, we increase these movement habits over the years, very often linked to our job and eventually the muscular system can become unbalanced and subtly move joints. The most common movement malfunction is using our back to do most of the work- bending from L4/L5 instead of using legs and core to help. The list is endless with imbalances that can occur in the body.
Spending as little as 10 mins a day moving to lengthen and mobilise your spine will do wonders. Discover and become aware of your movement patterns. Then you can strengthen your weaker muscles and release the tension in your stronger, tighter muscles. Little and often and less is more are the keys to help rebalance the muscular system.
When was the last time you checked in with your body and how it felt? We are often caught up in our minds, what we have to do, others we have to help. We can let a whole day go by without thinking or tuning into our own body until we feel pain or until we go to the gym or a class.
Even in the gym- where are you? What are you thinking about? Dinner, the weather, what you have to do tomorrow, watching tv as they have in gyms now. When we work out it is important to maintain awareness of how our body is moving and to change your routine regularly.
When you consciously take a moment to tune into your body, you start to create awareness. Over time as we continue to do this, our awareness grows and this then comes into our daily activities, we consciously move better and become more aware when lifting, twisting, standing. We begin to notice our centre and create movement from there rather than only from the shoulders or back.
As mentioned previously…when you are working out- where is your mind? This is key to keeping a fit and healthy body. Listening is one thing but action is then required. If you feel tension and tightness build up in one shoulder and you choose to continue pushing through, you have heard but are not taking action to stop. This is when you are in the danger zone. We have been conditioned to push through.
Exercise ultimately should bring us up to 80% of our max to keep fuel in the tank, especially when training for events or if you have a physical job to do on top of your daily workout. When we are exhausted our body is on the brink and that needs to be listened to for normal bodily functioning.
Something as simple as sitting at a desk job and your neck or lower back begins to get sore. Listen, stand up, do a full body stretch, walk around, twist gently and then continue. One day is not enough, if you choose not to listen most days….what is the body going to have to do to get you to listen?
Listening might be something as simple as knowing your pillow is not good for your neck- listen, find advise and change it.
4. Trusting yourself
If someone told you to put your hand on a hot plate and you knew you would get burnt, you more than likely wouldn’t as you know it’s not good for you! It’s the same thing when in a class or training. If an instructor tells you to cross your legs a certain way and your hip or knee is screaming to you that this really isn’t a good angle for that joint and you, then why stay there or do it?
Trust yourself that you know your body better than anyone else, and you do. For example, if your shoulders are tight going into a class then adding extra strain on them by holding them above your head is not going to benefit you or your shoulder in any way. Trust yourself to adapt and move into and out of poses and positions as you and your body need. If it’s a challenge to you and you don’t feel pain then that’s great- use your mindset and breath to stay there, however, once you feel pain- listen and trust.
For all of the above to take place you must decide to start. You must consciously make a decision to put you and your health first. You can save so much on medical bills, anti inflammatories, physio appointments, time and money by taking 10mins a day to move, this movement will bring awareness. Then listening to when something is too much or doesn’t feel right for your body and trusting yourself to adapt as you need. If repetitive movement is something you can not avoid through work then the awareness will help however counter movements to your daily movements is essential.
Change your mindset and bring more movement and awareness into your day – you will gain more from your training and will move more freely throughout life.