Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Road to Recovery

by: Eduardo Lorenzo

Being injured is no joke, trust me. After seeing my performance go way down as I suffered from a strained oblique muscle, I know how it feels… It’s like something from your life is missing, at least for me it was.

For those of you wondering a strained oblique muscle is not your usual type of injury, yet now a day you can see it more and more in athletes, especially baseball players. What causes this injury - maybe some sort of movement, rotation on the torso, overtraining of some muscles in your body, and a lot of other stuff could be the cause (every case would be different). Regardless of the type of injury – if it’s not extremely serious that requires surgery, in which case get on the way to the doc – how can you prevent them or better yet recover properly from it?

Besides the need of some prescription or over the counter drugs to fight inflammation (again see your doc), there are two things that are essential: flexibility and self-myofascial release or SMR.

First: How does flexibility help overall recovery and results in a training program? Flexibility is an important component of achieving and maintaining healthy, full range of motion around the joints. It’s important to check the range of motion, and only stretch muscles when the fibers are short and tight as opposed to long and tight.

Second: what is self-myofacial release (SMR) and how it helps? Self-myofascial release (SMR) massage can be defined as an interactive soft tissue release technique that requires to put pressure on tender areas along the muscle tissue (fascia to the tissue that surrounds the muscle fibers), the golgi tendon organs also help trigger relaxation of the muscle spindles, helping dissipate the adhesions, increasing blood flow to the muscle fibers and thus enhancing overall movement. FEW... Did I lose you?

I know it can be complicated but when you understand how your musculoskeletal system works then it’s easy to understand most of what I just wrote. The simple explanation however, is that by performing self-myofacial release techniques on a simple piece of foam roll (you’ve seen these in the gym and no! they are not there for decoration only), they will help in the following ways:

  • improve body composition, flexibility, function, performance

  • reduce joint stiffness, muscle tightness and more importantly injuries.

Simply stated, use your own body weight to roll on the round foam roll, massaging away restrictions to normal soft-tissue extensibility. Furthermore, you can perform this program in the convenience of your own home – If you feel you look weird moving around the foam roll when everyone else is watching.

Try this sequence: Start by searching the tissues for tenderness. If tenderness is identified, hold foam roll on the “hot-spot” for 10-12 sec. Repeat by coming back to area 3-5 times or until tenderness has subsided ( I won’t lie to you depending on how tight you may be it can be painful). If it’s too much to handle, release some of tension or dispense body weight over a greater surface.

Don’t perform SMR foam roll technique if you are not feeling well, have unbearable pain, acute rheumatoid arthritis or painful varicose veins; and never perform this over your lower back area.

I know that some of you will go online and search for proper spots to perform SMR foam roll (as haven’t loaded a sequence of pictures). If you are truly interested send me an e-mail and I will send you for FREE a sheet that includes proper exercises to perform with the foam roll.

However sometimes you may still need the help of a professional, in my case I did go to my doc, I used the SMR foam roll technique and I used our very own Elizabeth’s Mondragon deep tissue massage therapy services. And I’ll tell you has helped a lot on my road to recovery. If you’re interested send me an e-mail or call the front desk and set an appointment.

Stay fit my friends!

Author: Eduardo Lorenzo, NASM-CPT specializes in sports performance, injury prevention, corrective exercises, physique enhancement, Boot Camp and weight loss programs.

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