INJURIES ’cause human body doesn’t like short cuts.

You think of any therapy hot/cold, manual release, massage, or any other; one thing common among all is external stimulus. When we want to become stronger, the external stimulus helps us to make our muscles stronger bearing more than they are used to. Fair enough….but when it comes to recovery, external stimulus doesn’t seem to work well.

Examples: I have seen at least 10 top cricketers in last one year or so who have done proper rehab (not rushed) and then got injured again in no time.

Reason: Weighted/loaded rehab? What else could it? Wrong training? Mix of both? One followed the other and then ironically the body is asked to do some weird movements on field.

Note – I am not challenging physios work here. They do well and are survivors for a sportsman. It’s about the route cause of injuries and re-injuries. Read on
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How many injuries/re-injuries do we see today & why?

Science has only evolved over the years, equipments have become better, qualifications have improved, new techniques have come that are easier and safe BUT yet, number of injuries have increased. Worse…number of re-injuries! While there could be different reasons for different individuals, I could identify with two:

1) Wrong training

And/Or

2) Wrong recovery/relaxation or NO recovery

Today, I will briefly cover (2):

Ques: Best way to recover besides bed rest?

A) Massage

B) Manual Release (physio)

C) Ice/hot bath or

D) Self therapy – stretch & release

Firstly all work depending on time, players structural status, etc.

Ques: But if you have the facility of first 3 then would you ever do (D)?

Ans: NO. I have not seen many players in my career who would go for (D) or make an effort to learn it.

Difference?

First 3 are external sources.. musculature is being worked upon while you may be dreaming. Scientifically speaking your CNS doesn’t get stressed. Your mind doesn’t get involved. It is made to work. Period. Ice therapy and even massage seem to interfere with the process of recovery as per researches. This proves my point that rushing into these rehab therapies could be life saving in some situations but it could lead to injuries in many.

Therefore, one should not use Massage, Manual release, or any other therapy after every session, match, or practice. The relief that you get is temporary because you have forced your body to recover faster. Then it asks for more because it’s not healed fully. And we think we are getting more tired playing the same game, following the same training. These therapies do work in some situations and they are excellent substitutes but not when done regularly. We must understand that our body get used to this external stimulus and where science may reason it out in our favour – perhaps everytime; our body is not a product of science. We did not frame or build our body as per science. It is the other way around. Science is build around how our body behaves and we are still evolving. Mind is still a mystery.

Therefore build an understanding on how our body behaves and not look at scientific markers alone. Markers may show you consistency but I see bodies breaking while keeping up those numbers/markers. For how long?

Self therapy – Mind, CNS, Musculoskeletal & Focus (your entire soul); everything has to work together to make it work. You can’t escape the niggle of a stretch. You don’t estimate your eccentric strength or measure it somehow. You feel & live through it. If a big muscle requires you to hold a stretch for say more than 30 secs, you see the pain arising and diminishing. This self effort to learn your muscles/joints limitations helps you connect with self that no massage or manual release can give you.

This is the reason why anybody training under me would not approach any therapy until they have consulted me. Why? Because they can relate with their body more. They understand it. They somewhere have an idea of how it works broadly. They feel stronger.

Ques: Why hamstrings get tight?

Definition these days: Overload

Me: No…Prepare your body for the load. There won’t be any overload then. Simple.

Ques: Then what is the real reason?

Ans: Because your hamstrings and associated muscles have NOT recovered. This is why they get tight.

Ques: Today’s trainers thinking?

Ans: It is weak…lets make it stronger.

Me: No…you gym freaks!!!!! Load will make the musculature tighter.

Sometimes, I see players taking a massage (or physio session) so regularly that they reach a stage where their body doesn’t move without it. It becomes more imp for them than a warm-up. They play a match and need a massage. They get a small niggle and they need a physiotherapist. They get tight, they need a manual release. Weight training is given in any circumstance.

Ques: What happens to these players?

They get injured frequently. And if they haven’t started getting injured yet, its because they might be young. They will get there soon.

Ques: Are these therapies any good?

Ans: Of course…they are treatments. And treatment is taken once in a while or when you are in urgent need. For the rest of the time, we recover from fatigue.

Do Not Get Treated For Fatigue.

Look at any of the above picture and please come forward if you think this can be matched by any manual release, cold therapy, or a massage? If not then put your ego’s and labels on the side and learn.

Umesh Chhikara

Sports Scientist