Staying active while injured

Happy Wednesday! Hope you all are having a great week!

This week has been a good week with some activity plus some rest…feels good to strike a balance between those two, as I struggle with filling my schedule a little too much. Thank goodness for sciatica, I guess, that forces me to rest more?? #silverlining

I wanted to talk about injury and setbacks today as I’ve definitely been feeling that with this pregnancy. Not saying this pregnancy is a setback at all, but I am having to slow down more and with my sciatic and pelvic floor issues and it’s bringing to light how to stay active while still nursing those pains.

With my first pregnancy, I misaligned my pelvis in the first trimester, which forced me to stop running. At that time, running was really my identity. I loved it, I did it all the time, and I was good at it…take it away and I didn’t really know what to do so I was definitely less active than I could’ve been. I told myself, this pregnancy was going to be different. I would continue lifting and being active as long as I could, and if injuries or pregnancy pains happened, I’d work around them…and that’s what I’ve done.

Firstly, having an injury or setback or something that requires you to slow down or back off from your training is extremely difficult, not just physically, but mentally as well. It’s a hard pill to swallow when you can’t be as active as you’d like. I want to encourage you that if you are in a season of injury, I’m terribly sorry you’re here, but it is ok and you will get back to your original training. It will take longer than you like, you will not like the road back to it, but you will get there. Stay patient, stay active with what you can do, and don’t give up.

Secondly, if you do have an injury, be sure to get it checked out by an orthopedic doctor or a physical therapist. Someone who specializes in sports injuries or, in my case, pregnancy related pains will be able to diagnose you and give you a road back towards rehab and moving well again. Do not let a personal trainer or friend who’s also had a similar injury diagnose you, unless they are, of course, qualified. Go to a qualified practitioner who knows what they’re doing and has years of training to back up their findings.

Once you get your diagnosis, the doctor or PT will typically give you some rest and rehab prescriptions. This is where you ask specific questions as to the length of your rehab, your limitations, what you can and can’t do physically, and these are the things you bring back to your trainer who can then design a program that works around those limitations. Being injured doesn’t have to mean sitting on the couch 24/7…yes, sometimes some injuries and pains require that to heal, however not all of them do, so get specific with your doc about what you can and can’t do. Most likely, you’ll still be able to do something with non-injured parts of your body.

This was taken on my last ‘long’ walk. Now it’s just mini 5-10 min walks throughout the day.

For example, I have terrible sciatica right now. Even walking longer than about 10 minutes hurts and aggravates it, however, sitting around the house all day won’t help it. I need to move a little each day, to keep that nerve from being constantly stuck. I’ve been taking short little walks throughout the day, as well as still working my upper body. My upper body feels fine and strong still at this point in pregnancy (36 weeks), so I will continue to work that until I deliver. I can still stay active within my range of motion. I’ve cut out any lower body work that works the posterior chain excessively (things like deadlifts, squats–other than will a stability ball up against a wall, hamstring curls, etc). BUT I’ve continued to work my quads with leg extensions and my chest, back, and arms.

Another thing you can do if you still have some range of motion and can move with the injury is lighten your weight and increase your reps. Now is the time for rehab, not making PRs, so it’s a great time to work on perfecting form, incorporating more higher rep ranges to work your system metabolically vs building muscle, and work on specific rehab-designed movements.

For example, here are a few movements that actually do work my posterior chain but are approved by my PT and don’t always hurt.

Glute Bridges–these don’t always feel great, so I only do them on good days

Stability ball wall squat– these have actually been feeling really good and a nice way to still work my glutes and hamstrings

Clam shells– this is a movement I do even when I’m not dealing with sciatica…great move for runners!

So, moral of the story…do what you can and get specific with your doctor, PT, ortho, chiro, whomever you’re seeing about your limitations and what you can and can’t do.

36 weeks!

Until next time!

Coéle

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