Can old injuries can come back to haunt us?

They certainly can!

Of course, it’ll be dependent on the severity of the injury. But I’m sure those of us that do sporting activities like horse riding or cycling, will have fallen off at some point, and there might be a ‘niggle’ or two that we ‘hold on to’. My personal one is a shoulder injury – flying off a mountain bike like superwoman, was always going to end badly!

That momentous day was 18 years ago, and I got checked out by the Doctor straight away, mostly because I knocked myself out! With regard to the muscles of the shoulder, the verdict was that I had overstretched, so it was just going to need time to heal.

Unfortunately, what has happened over the years is that I ‘take care’ of that shoulder. I did the rehab exercises in the gym initially, but then I went back to my outdoorsy pursuits, as that’s my preferred way of exercising. Soooo, in a totally unconscious way, I have accidentally made my left shoulder super strong, to compensate for the ‘poorly’ right one! Doh.

What happens when you over-compensate?

You’ll end up coming to see me!

When the body loses symmetry, it invariably overstresses the muscles on one side, so they are permanently tense – that’s when it gets painful. The body is wrapped-up by muscles and fascia, like a parcel wrapped in paper. If you put tension on the paper by pulling in one place, as a tight muscle does, it’ll put tension on the whole wrapping, until it perhaps even tears. So an old injury will definitely come back to haunt you if you don’t take care of yourself!

The moral of the story is: Do your rehab after an injury. Also, realise that you are now prone to have this as a weakness, moving forward. We all tend to externalise when it comes to an ailment, we say, “that shoulder has given me grief for years.” Rather than ‘my’ shoulder. Take ownership of your ailment, and give it the attention it needs.

I have found yoga so beneficial to ‘balance’ up the body, as it promotes flexibility whilst strengthening. The rehab exercises I was given 18 years ago are still valid even now, as they are specific to the muscles I strained. For the ‘over-compensation’ that I have created, I have ‘invested’ in a Pump class once a week, as it focuses on low weights, and multiple reps. Actually, there’s not a muscle group it doesn’t work! (But be assured you won’t end up looking like a  bodybuilder!)

I also invest time in myself, by warming down and stretching after exercise. Warming down is so important, as it lowers the heart rate slowly. And stretching will can help reduce the buildup of lactic acid, which can lead to muscle cramping and stiffness.

P.S. I can totally recommend Steph, who is based in Lechlade, for Pump, Blast and Circuit training: 

She’s a fully qualified Personal Trainer, so you can book a one-to-one as well.

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