Avoiding Injury

Injuries fall into 2 general categories: traumatic and repetitive. Both types involve tissue damage or injury but on vastly different scales.

Traumatic injuries are characterized by significant forces being applied to the body resulting in bruising, strains, ruptures and broken bones.
Traumatic injury examples include:

  • Motor vehicle and bike accidents
  • Falls at home, work or during activities
  • Lifting heavy objects or lifting with poor body positioning
  • Contact sports

Repetitive injuries involve tissue damage, swelling and deterioration that occurs when lighter forces are applied over and over again.  If applied over a time frame of days, months or years, the capacity of the tissues are exceeded and inflammation or degeneration begins.  Eventually the degree of injury builds, leading to progressively more irritation, pain and disability.  Repetitive injury examples include:

  • Tennis and golfers elbow 
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 
  • Texting thumb 
  • Runners knee 
  • Swimmers shoulder

Traumatic and repetitive injuries can also occur in the spine.

  • The spinal discs can tear and bulge or slowly degenerate to bruise, rub or pinch nerves. 
  • Facet joints can lose their alignment and mobility, causing the progressive loss of their joint cartilage.  
  • Spinal muscles and ligaments can be suddenly stretched or strained.  
  • A life long habit of sitting or repetitive bending and lifting leads to wear and tear on all the spinal tissues.

Exercise alone cannot reduce or eliminate a joint with altered alignment and restriction, but activity is important in maintaining motion once the faulty joint is corrected.

Avoiding Injury Tips

  • Always warm up before activity with light activities and movement. Stretch after the activities are completed. 
  • Wear appropriate clothing or equipment at work, around home or when playing sports that fits properly. Helmets that wobble and padding that shifts or moves around increase injury risks. 
  • Check your work site or home for loose footing, mats or carpets and other unsafe objects that can lead to falling.
  • Many injuries are created simply by becoming fatigued and then making an error of movement or judgment. Fatigue leads to movement errors.  Beware the extra set of weights or the last ski run of the day.
  • Focus on the task or sport at hand.  Don't drive and text.  Lift your head up as you walk and talk on your phone or when you cross city streets.  Beware of distractions with equipment or power tools.
  • Using a trainer or some coaching can help reduce errors in technique and training that lead to injury. 
  • Beware the "Terrible Too's” when beginning or restarting activities. 

            - Too Much
            - Too Long
            - Too Fast                       
            - Too Intense

Inappropriate intensity or duration leads either to a sudden acute injury or to a slowly progressive overuse one.  These injuries could occur in any part of the body.  All of the "Too's" imply that the starting level was "Too" much or that there was "Too" big a change in regular activity.