Saturday, January 20

Don't stop

A friend just recently sent me this intriguing article about exercising when injured. The medical consensus is don't stop.

Here's an excerpt:


The New York Times
By GINA KOLATA
Published: January 11, 2007

JUST before the end of last year, a prominent orthopedic surgeon was stretching to lift a heavy box and twisted his back. The pain was agonizing. He could not sit, and when he lay down he could barely get up.

So the surgeon, Dr. James Weinstein of Dartmouth College, decided to go out for a run.

“I took an anti-inflammatory, iced up, and off I went,” Dr. Weinstein recalled. When he returned, he said, he felt “pretty good.”

It sounds almost like heresy. The usual advice in treating injuries is to rest until the pain goes away. But Dr. Weinstein and a number of leading sports medicine specialists say that is outdated and counterproductive. In fact, Dr. Weinstein says, when active people consult him, he usually tells them to keep exercising.

The idea, these orthopedists and exercise specialists say, is to use common sense. If you’ve got tendinitis or sprained a muscle or tendon by doing too much, don’t go right back to exercising at the same level.

The specific advice can differ from specialist to specialist. Some, like Dr. Weinstein, say most people can continue with the sport they love although they may need to cut back a bit, running shorter distances or going more slowly. Others say to cross-train at least some of the time and others say the safest thing to do is to cross-train all the time until the pain is gone. You might end up cycling instead of running, or swimming instead of playing tennis. But unless it’s something as serious as a broken bone or a ripped ligament or muscle, stopping altogether may be the worst thing to do.

“We want to keep you moving,” said Dr. William Roberts, a sports medicine specialist at the University of Minnesota and a past president of the American College of Sports Medicine. “Injured tissue heals better if it’s under some sort of stress.”

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