Why We Don't Want Too Much Rest for a Sports Injury

The old way of thinking about sports injuries, or any injuries, is to take some time, go home and rest. The idea is that by not moving your body the pain symptoms would decrease and before there was such a thing as "sports medicine" or a Sports Injury Doctor, physicians would adhere to the Hippocratic Oath, ‘first of all do no harm’ and would advise bed rest for most injuries. But now we know that too much rest is bad for sports injury rehab. How do we expect our bodies to automatically heal themselves and remain optimal without some movement.

If there is some blunt force trauma or possible bone fracture, then yes, you need the appropriate medical attention, and a period of rest.  However if there is some shoulder pain, knee pain, back pain, etc., especially with athletes, we need to restore the normal neuro-muscular (nerve-muscle) connection.  In order to restore that normal function the body should remain active to reinforce and normalize the nerve-muscle connection.  With help from the physical therapists and musculoskeletal specialists at Breaking Through athletes learn the proper movements and exercises to rehab their sports injury.

Rest Does Not Address the Dysfunction Leading to Pain

Athletes have game after game and practice after practice and need to get back on the field or court as quickly as possible. And for the non-sports injuries, people need to get back to work or their activities of daily living. When our patients express difficulty doing these things without pain or dysfunction, why would we prescribe to sit and rest for weeks on end? The problem of pain and dysfunction needs to be addressed. When symptoms present themselves, our job is to find out the reason why those symptoms are presenting and tackle the problem at the root cause.  New evidence shows rest prolongs recovery and contributes to re-injury when the patient gets back to their normal activities.

The quicker a patient can get in to see us, the quicker we can treat them, and the quicker they will begin to improve functionally so they can get back out on the court, field, work or return to their daily lives without complications. A visit with our physical therapists begins with a full assessment, the objective being the restoration of normal neuromuscular facilitation and ability to perform functional movement patterns. We work with our patients to restore their normal movements by prescribing custom-tailored exercise in the clinic and at home, to assist with re-enforcing these muscles to work effectively. We are focused on the return of function. What about the pain? Doesn't rest and massage and tape and ice help with the pain? Unfortunately, there are things that could help with pain but NOT help to restore function to your body.  Watch the video below to see Dr. Josh explain how pain is a signal from our bodies that there is dysfunction and the pain will begin to decrease when the function improves.  Pain is a symptom that your body is telling you something is not firing correctly.  There is no scientific evidence that resting improves the body's ability to function.

Related Post: Is Stretching Bad for You? Why Stretching is NOT Your Friend.

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In this video, Dr. Josh explains how our bodies communicate with us by generating pain and how physical therapy sessions at Breaking Through are designed to restore your function, while decreasing your pain in less sessions and with long-lasting results. Contact the Physical Therapists at Breaking Through IT for a free consult, or schedule your initial assessment today and be on your way to sports injury rehabilitation or  a pain free active lifestyle.


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To arrange an assessment for sports injury rehab and physical therapy, contact us.