There is an overwhelming problem in America, and the gym;), of fixing the symptoms of an issue and not addressing the actual issue. It is like if every time it rains your floor gets wet, so you mop it up each time instead of fixing the roof. Eventually the roof is going to cave-in and it will cause all sorts of damage.
Here is a recent CrossFit example:
An athlete has been having elbow issues for two years now. They went to see a doctor because their elbow had swollen-up after a work-out. The doctor gave them water pills to help the swelling go down and told them they overdid it. But, what does that do for the root problem…NOTHING!!! Next week when they want to work-out, do yard work, pick-up their kids, or take their groceries out of their car, there is a possibility of them “overdoing it” and the elbow swelling again. But don’t worry, there is a solution…more water pills (sarcasm). That is crazy!!! There is an underlying issue that is causing the elbow pain. Probably, it is the muscles and tissues around the elbow or movement patters the athlete uses throughout the day, in other words, there is a reason the elbow hurts. Figuring out the reason and fixing it, will eliminate the issue instead of the athlete living the rest of their life managing their elbow pain! This person has been going to a manual therapist who has identified the problem as being tied to tight triceps and a few bad positions throughout the day. That’s it?!?! Two years of pain with doctors telling them they had tennis elbow and to take water pills and there was an actual fix all along??? The goal is to remove the issues instead of managing pain and since the majority of the medical community is not playing this role, it is up to you to get the right help.
We see examples like this all the time in the gym and people are not doing the proper things to address the issues. Here are some…
- Foot hurts, so you get special shoes or inserts to help the pain. This actually weakens your foot even further and makes you totally reliant on the insert or shoe. The answer was to strengthen the foot, mobilize the ankle and hip, and do soft tissue work with foam rollers and lacrosse balls to fix the problem, not hide it. Barefoot or minimalist shoes go a long way to strengthening feet back to how they are naturally meant to function.
- Wrists hurt when in the rack position, so you wear wrist wraps when you front squat, clean and jerk or press. Wrist will never get stronger or more mobile with the wraps and, therefore you will become dependent on the wraps. Wraps are OK for the one day you do a one rep max, but outside of that, stay away from them and work on why your wrists hurt. Lack of wrist mobility, tricep length, and poor rack position.
- Knee pain when you run, so you never run anymore. Running technique is something to learn. Knee pain when you run equals you are not running properly…yet; Enter the Pose Method of running.
Look for things in your life that you work around or use additional support. Include up and downstream of the problem area looking at mobility problems and see if there are any mobility exercises you have learned from K-Star fromh MobilityWOD.com you can tailor to fit your needs. If you cannot come up with a solution on your own, seek help. Nagging pains are ticking time bombs waiting to go off and cause serious injury. Come-up with a plan of attack and stop making excuses about why things hurt.