I’ve been a qualified personal trainer for 7 years now. One of my favourite parts of the job is the different people I get to meet, and the different type of clients I get to work with. I’ve written a short series on experiences I’ve had working with different clients.
This is the second in the series.
I love working with injured clients. They’re like life-sized puzzles. And working with them offers great potential to have a positive effect on a life. Funnily enough, I hate puzzles. You know, the monopoly type puzzle that takes no skill, but breaks up families! But I’ll happily work for 5 hours to install a graphics card in my PC without asking for help. And that’s the same effort I put into getting clients back to 100%.
The biggest impact I’ve had with an injured client was with a lady in her mid-20’s She had been running on a back injury for over 2 years. With injuries, there is a tendency to try and ignore it, especially if you’re not sure what steps you can take to improve it!
By the time she got to me, the injury was threatening to stop her taking on challenges like Tough Mudder, play cricket in the summer, or just go for a run with a friend. It took us a month to get to the bottom of the muscles and movements that were dysfunctional as a result of the injury, before we started to make any improvements.
When recovering from an injury, having someone with the expertise to take an objective and patient approach can improve your recovery in the long term.
Most Important Part of Injury Rehab – Graded Exposure
You always remember your first love. The lovers that come afterwards may be better for you. But there was nothing like the butterflies you got when you tried to ask your crush out for a date (even though you ended up calling them names to play it cool!). With any stimulus like heat, stress, emotions etc. your body reacts strongest to the first instance, then it becomes less sensitive as it gets exposed to the same stimulus.
It’s the same with your injured muscles or joints. After being injured, even after healing, it can be sensitive to movement. Usually it’s particular movement patterns that set it off. I’ve met too many people who give up here, reasoning that their body can never be the same. But belief that things can improve and be better is the start of the journey!
Facets of an Rehab Programme
The graded exposure principle can be applied to any number of factors. The important thing is that your goal is to get the muscle/joint that was injured stronger than the other side. That way, most fears are allayed, and you can get back to what you were doing before.
Here are the different components that any good rehab programme need to address;
Tension and Tone
Muscles and structures around injured parts usually get tenser to protect itself. Foam rolling massage and stretching are ways to release a tight muscles, to help it regain the movement range it had.
Stabilisation and Co-ordination
Sometimes the injured muscle/joint develops new movement patterns to protect itself, but after the part has healed, those patterns are detrimental. After releasing the muscle, moving the body through patterns it was trying to avoid helps to get the injured part as strong as it was before!
This is what a lot of people focus on first, but that’s like building your house on sand (and we all know that doesn’t end well!). But after easing the tension and relearning good movement patterns, you can now start to improve muscle and joint strength.
Check out my Facebook Live video below about graded exposure,and how it’s similar to a phobia of ????birds (Ornithophobia – yeah had to google that!) ????
***This info is for after seeing a doctor and physiotherapist,
who’ve cleared you to work with a personal trainer.***