That’s right! Take a load off, ease up, because we here at Align Therapy, your home for PT (or physical torture, physical terrorism, or pain and torture as some of our patients have come to call it) want you to rest! We bet you never thought we’d say that, huh?
Yes, we preach from the rooftops that we all need to be more active (and we won’t ever stop), but we also want you to understand the role that resting can have in your recovery. This is something that I have been pondering over the past little while, especially as I treat patients with sport-related injuries.
- Rest allows your body the time it needs to repair and heal stressed tissues.
This is easy enough to understand, right? Overuse injuries are a result of the body’s inability to heal tissue as fast as it is being stressed leading to inadequate adaptation and pain. We see this quite a bit with runners and sports that involve a lot of jumping like basketball and volleyball. Interesting enough is the fact that a lot of patients with overuse injuries really have a hard time with this crucial principle of recovery; tournaments creep up, marathons are on deck, etc. But this has an impact on the long-term….
- Rest can reduce your risk for the development of an acute injury from becoming chronic.
“I really want my recovery to last as long as possible!,” said no one ever. If we don’t allow our body the time it needs to heal, we are asking for a long road back to what we enjoy doing because we keep pounding away at tissues that want to heal completely but struggle to keep up. You may now be asking yourself, “Korey, if exercise is necessary for healing overuse injuries, how do I know when enough is enough without getting caught in a never ending cycle?” Great question! Here’s my answer, “Listen, really listen to what your body is telling you.” This takes trial and error, a little bit of experimenting. Start with a volume of exercise intensity that you know you can complete but is slightly challenging and record how you felt; if this resulted in increased pain over what you’d consider a 4/10, then I would advise you to try the activity again with less intensity and see how you feel. Finding that sweet spot will take some effort but it will pay off in the long run. This is another reason why you find myself, Char, and Dave always asking you how you did after the previous visit; we are trying to gauge the right amount of stress/overload to your body will promote growth and healing.
- Rest lowers your stress, which elevates your mood.
Who knew, right? We could go pretty far down the rabbit hole of biochemistry to discover how cortisol is a stress-inducing hormone that negatively impacts our mood and can even hinder muscle growth, but I don’t want you to fall asleep and faceplant your computer or smart device. Suffice it to say that doing things you enjoy while managing your daily stressors should leave you feeling good about yourself by the end of a busy week. Don’t enjoy resting? Try low impact and less vigorous exercise such as cycling, going for a nice walk or hike, or give activities like indoor rock climbing a go (all depending on what your injury is, of course.)
As you have read thus far, rest has a large impact on your recovery. It is crucial for tissue repair, can prevent you from having an overuse injury from becoming chronic, and has a positive impact on your overall well being.
You may not hear us say, “Stay in bed today,” but you will likely be prescribed with activity modifications for a few weeks with the goal to return to full action as soon as possible. Hopefully this short blog has increased your trust in the power of rest and respect for your body’s healing process. It is different for everyone to some degree or another, but the principles are the same.
Until next time,
Korey Derocher, DPT