You’re hurt, now what?

My careers as a chiropractor and CrossFit affiliate owner give me a unique perspective in regards to how we address injuries and exercise. There’s few things bother me more than meeting someone who is desperate to make changes; and be told they haven’t been able to exercise for years due to an injury.
Our first goal when training someone at CrossFit Steele Creek is durability. Whether you’re here to build strength in the pre-season for sport, or just want to be able to carry groceries up a few steps, the goal remains the same. If you ever have a coach tell you anything different, find someone else immediately. Injuries derail training. They make it difficult for people to reach their goals when they may need to work around something for a certain period of time. However, I don’t believe that injuries need to keep someone from exercise. At our facility we’ve had a number of people that return to exercise in some way, shape or form within 4-6 weeks post op from back surgeries, shoulder surgeries, knee replacements, etc. We’ll do our best to keep people active and moving well.
Pain is tricky. There are many reasons why people will feel pain, especially when it’s chronic. Rarely is total rest the answer to healing properly. Exercise in general, in addition to the support at many CrossFit affiliates, offers too many benefits to ignore.  I feel the reward of properly prescribed exercise during injury outweighs the risks. For many, the recommendation to continue with exercise while healing from injury is because of the psychological benefits that exercise will have on the body. Exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, stress reduction and boosts overall mood; all factors that would improve the rate of healing.
In most cases, there are ways to work around an injury or pain. We recommend using this time to address on a weakness. Elbow pain? Why not use this time to improve your running skills? Knee pain got you bummed? Seems like as good a time as any to focus on upper body strength, eh? You say you can’t exercise because your right shoulder hurts? Well, guess who’s learning 1 arm kettlebell swings, presses and loaded carries today?
While the injured person may not be able to see the light at the end of healing, a good coach will get you there, support you and find ways to keep you as active as possible in effort to keep improving your fitness during this time. One hundred percent of the time using proper movement as medicine trumps (not him) sitting your ass on the couch complaining about your injury. Key work; proper. While there are times that rest is important, it’s also a much overused piece of advice to the wounded.
My last recommendation is this; if you find yourself with an injury and a doctor tells you that total rest is the answer, ask “why?” and if you’re not happy with the answer, get another opinion.  Often that is the “cover your ass” answer the doctor will offer because it typically requires little explanation to the patient.