• Jacob Williams

STOP ICING YOUR HAMSTRINGS


RECOVER FROM YOUR SOFT TISSUE INJURIES BETTER

But Coach, why would I stop icing? It decreases the inflammation, feels good and it's a part of RICE (Rest Ice Compress Elevate)!


So let us start with RICE and the unfortunate truth behind the acronym. RICE was coined by Dr. Gabe MIrkin over 30 years ago in order to help facilitate recovery from soft tissue injuries. At the time it was adopted by many sport and physical therapists in order to promote recovery, the issue? Dr. Gabe Mirkin has recanted his advice and has stated,


“Coaches have used my “RICE” guideline for decades, but now it appears that both Ice and complete Rest may delay healing, instead of helping.” — Dr. Gabe Mirkin


Why does Ice and Rest delay healing you ask? Think of this, anytime you get an injury you may get a black and blue, this is blood rushing to the area in order to heal your body. Rest and Ice both actually reduce blood flow! Blood will carry new proteins and nutrients to the area that will allow the body to heal. So we want to increase blood flow, rather than decrease it, how do we do that you ask? Here is my step-by-step guide on how I attack soft tissue strains. Approach these tips as an exercise progression and do not move on from one until you feel comfortable performing the next movement.


DISCLAIMER: THIS IS PURELY ANECDOTAL AND IS BY NO MEANS A DIAGNOSIS OR MEDICAL TREATMENT GUIDE. IF YOU HAVE A SERIOUS INJURY GO SEE A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL!

FOAM ROLLING/SOFT TISSUE MASSAGE

So the first thing I focus on when it comes to soft tissue strains is improving blood flow to the affected area. Foam rolling/self-massage is a great way to do this. It allows you to control the amount of force being put on the area and prevent anyone else from working past your pain threshold.


This increase in blood flow to the area will help promote healing of the muscles as we discussed earlier. As well the massaging will help break up fascial adhesions that may have formed when the injury occurred. Always be aware of trigger points and work around them cautiously to not reaggravate the muscle tissue.


COMPRESSION/FLOSSING

This was one that Dr. Mirkin had right, as compression will also promote blood flow to an area. This can be accomplished with a flossing band or with a tightly wrapped ACE bandage, both will work. Again the main purpose of this modality is to promote blood flow along with relieving some fascial tension. Not too much to talk about here as there are similar benefits to foam rolling and self-massage.


ISOMETRICS

Isometric movements are great to use, especially for building soft tissue resiliency and recovery. The reason being, there is no movement of the muscle tissue but there is tension produced with the muscles. Meaning you are working the muscle but not moving it, which allows you to isolate ranges of motion and build strength in and around the position where the injury is.


As with all exercises, this will help promote that ever-so-essential blood flow we are looking to create. Also, this will start the process of rebuilding strength in the area and allow us to start moving on to more dynamic movements without reinjury.


BODYWEIGHT MOVEMENTS

This one is pretty straight forward start performing bodyweight movements that work the affected area. This progression from our static isometric holds will begin to get the muscle relaxing and contracting again creating more demand from the area. I will suggest starting to work in small ranges of motion, as much as you can without pain, and then progressing to fuller and more complete ranges of motion. This is probably an aspect that can get missed, but you need to be able to move through the same range of motion AND BEYOND where you got injured.


The reason you want to work through the ROM that you got injured in, is once you are injured at that ROM you will have decreased neural sensitivity because of scar tissue. So you need to be comfortable controlling your body in that range of motion otherwise I promise you will reinjury yourself.


Treating these steps as a progression and only moving on to the next step after you feel comfortable with the step you are in is vital. Remember the best ability is availability. So if you rush back and cut corners you will reinjure yourself and have to start back at step zero, so do it right the first time.

Most of all, just make sure you keep moving and do things to promote blood flow and do not allow yourself to get stiff. Because that is when you start to experience issues way longer than you need to. Attack your injury the same ways you attack your training and you will be alright!

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JWCoachingLLC™
Fort Lee, NJ

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