It’s a brand new week and Total Outcomes physio Surrey has come up with a brand new life changing question to answer for our sport physiotherapy series. How can your hard earned strength be dampened by involuntary processes in your body?
I am right about your strength being hard earned aren’t I? Hours of sweat and effort, followed by days of painful muscle growth, but I know that you were happy to do it. I also know that you wouldn’t be happy (at all) if your body sneakily turned those muscles off or even dialed them down somewhat.
Does that even happen? Yes, absolutely! I gave a lecture this weekend about it for diving BC in the new White Rock Gymnastics and Diving center, which by the way you should really make time to visit.
When your body turns down your muscles, scientists call that inhibition. Although inhibition is sometimes necessary, at other times it just plain sucks. You may ask, what causes inhibition? I would have to answer that your strength can be stolen from you by various things.
The first one that I want to discuss is call pain inhibition. This very simply is the phenomenon where a body part with pain is actually weaker than it would be without pain. So what if the pain is slight, and you feel like you can play through the pain? Playing should be okay right? Well, you can, but at a cost.
The cost of playing through pain is threefold. The first is loss of optimal strength and power. We’ve all seen this as one of our favorite pro athletes would appear to coast through the playoffs, and then you find out later that he sucked not because of effort but because he was playing injured. Even strong motivation can’t fully beat the rules of physiology. Getting rid of all of those little niggly aches and pains can be a first step towards improving performance.
The second cost of pain inhibition is loss of optimal safety reflexes and nerve signals. As we play our reflexes keep us safe. If not for them bones would snap and ligaments would pop. Those same nerve signals are dampened by pain inhibition. Also dampened is the strength that might protect you from blowing your knee. If you play hurt, you are taking a bigger risk of getting a sports injury in one of your body parts than if you played healthy. So clean up your pain tough guy, or risk an even bigger injury.
The third cost of pain inhibition is what we at Total Outcomes physiotherapy in Surrey call pain aversion errors. This is when an athlete moves wrong (despite what their coach wants), when their focus isn’t perfect, due to subconscious avoidance of a somewhat painful action. In other words, if something hurts a bit, your golf swing will suffer.
We will have to do another post on how your hard earned strength can be dampened by involuntary processes in your body. At Total Outcomes physio Surrey we have sport physiotherapists that can diagnose your problem and show you the pathway to eliminate pain, boost prevention and posture, and sport performance. Call us if you’re in the White Rock South Surrey area or somewhere close … (604) 767-2267