The Role of Exercise Professionals in Injury Rehabilitation

We are not ‘fixers’!

I just wanted to make that point up front. Now, a little explanation as to what that means.

Firstly, what do I mean by a ‘fixer’? A fixer, by my definition is a health professional that provides a service in which, you, the client need to be somewhat submissive to and subjected to. (more…)

adults and sport making our kids fatter.

Among all the bad news on the radio as I drove to work this morning, I heard that the Heart Foundation has released data from a new study stating that now 25% of Australian kids are overweight or obese, and that they are tipped to be the first generation EVER to live less than their parents.

This is depressing on so many counts – the emotional/psychological load on these kids because of the behaviours we, as adults, allow them to assimilate; their decreased quality of life; and the financial burden on society… just this point alone has so many ramifications. just ask yourself, who is going to look after their parents in their later years??

Now, I know that we keep talking about changed eating habits, increased screen (tv, computers, etc) time, and decreased movement at school. but lets face it: are these things really to blame? or are we, as the example setting parents/adults allowing and driving our kids towards these behaviours?? I authored an article (A decrease in the association between the physical activity patterns of Australian parents and their children; 1985-1997) published in 2005 in the Journal of Science Medicine and Sport, which showed that not only are kids playing less sport now, but also the strength of our influence over their behaviour seems to be decreasing. I guess all you have to do is look at the empty parks around our neighbourhoods that once upon a time had fathers kicking the footy with their sons…

I think there’s also another force at play here, and that is sport, or at least sports-based Phys. Ed. I think that this model rewards the genetically gifted kids (those that can play sports well, and hence also enjoy it), and not kids who are less coordinated/skilled, who may still be trying hard. We all know what happens to these kids, don’t we? they struggle to pick up the intricacies of the game, are the last picked to be part of teams, and eventually develop lack of self-confidence, which leads to avoidance behaviours. What happened to ‘play’? what happened to the notion that schools should be trying (supposedly) to equip our children to succeed in life as adults? is being able to catch and throw a ball with a Lacrosse stick going to make them more influential and valuable citizens, and fulfilled human beings?? how about instilling in them healthy behaviours; to understand that it is ‘movement’ that will save their lives?

There are programs in the States (of A) that now equip children with Heart Rate monitors and reward (and grade) children based on their relative intensity of work, rather than on their skills. this way all children can work within their skill limits and still achieve great outcomes in health. An interesting concept I think.

So, adults, get out and PLAY with your kids! show them that you enjoy moving and being active; that its not a chore, but a reward! We have amazing bodies, which thrive with movement!

Injuries are Symptoms

In my line of work, I often find myself repeating the same little spiel over the course of a week to a number of clients. This is simply because a lot of the concerns that my clients have regarding their health, fitness or their body are shared, and hopefully, the perspective or knowledge that I have to offer remains consistent (at least over the course of one week!). So I figure if I am going to be repeating myself I may as well get down in writing and share it freely!

The topic I want to cover this time is the development if injuries and how this can be avoided. The injuries that I am referring to are really any that develop slowly over a period of time, rather than sudden onset injuries, like falling over and breaking something. I will start by stating a few paradigms that almost always ring true in the development of overuse injuries- Firstly, that injury is a symptom of a more global dysfunction and is not the cause. Secondly, treating only the symptom may provide some short term benefit but reoccurrence, or manifestation into a different injury is almost inevitable
(remember the first point- the injury is just a symptom). Thirdly, there is a difference between pain and injury, and we often get a fair old warning about potential injury in the form of pain. I better hold up there and clarify, as you may be asking, surely if I am in pain, I am injured. No, that is often not the case. The word injury implies some sort of damage to the tissue/s of the body. We can experience pain without experiencing tissue damage, so in this instance, the pain is actually a valuable message that warns us of potential tissue damage and therefore injury, if we don’t do anything about it. My final paradigm is actually the spiel that I have been giving lately. Tightness often precedes pain, and pain often precedes injury. This means that the first thing you should do when you start to notice a little niggle in the front of your knee when you walk is investigate whether there is any tightness around the knee that may be increasing compression around the knee. If there is then you can take the appropriate action in relieving this tension through stretching, self-massage or having someone else massage the appropriate areas. This is the first step, and constitutes addressing the symptom to a certain extent. The next thing to do, is ask; why did this tightness develop in the first place? Be assured there is an answer. An Exercise Physiologist or Personal Trainer should have the skills to be able to help you answer this question, or refer you to someone who can. The most broad answer I can give you is that chronic tightness develops when some aspect of our neuromuscular system is out of balance and remedying chronic injuries or pain requires exercise designed to restore balance to this system.

So the main take home points are: pain and injuries are symptoms of more global neuromuscular dysfunction, and if a health professional that you employ to help you remedy chronic pain or injury is only focusing on the precise area of injury then they are not addressing the root cause of the problem and further investigation is needed for long-term relief.

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