About three months ago I sustained what I now know as ‘an injury.’ There is a tender achy sore spot about halfway down my left buttock and it occasionally pinches my sciatic nerve. It is not fun.
So what have I been doing for it? Really nothing, lots of pigeon stretch. Because I’m in my 20’s and I can’t ACTUALLY get injured, right? Wrong!
Just a little background here, sciatic nerve pain is caused by a few things including irritation of the lumber (lower) spine, or disk degeneration in the lower back. This causes irritation of the sciatic nerve roots in the lower back, which can travel down the leg and even in to the foot. (Check out webmd at the bottom).
Causes of my injury could be my job which involves lots of lifting, frequently jogging outside, or even something as simple as driving far distances causing my sacrum to misalign. The Sacrum is a triangular bone in the lower back that rests between the lower vertebrae and two hip bones of the pelvis. In Pilates it is also known as a major component of the pelvic floor.
So where is all of this going, you might ask. When you feel strong and athletic, it can become habit to think of yourself as invincible. We demand lots of taxing activities from our bodies and provide nothing in return. Our bodies were build for athleticism, right? Yes and no.
I believe, myself included, that young adults who display the first symptoms of injury do not understand what this truly means. We must provide our bodies a chance to recover when they are injured, otherwise they simply will not.
Now this is the part where I get to preach my own area of (semi) expertise! Pilates was actually founded by Joseph Pilates to provide physical therapy to WWII vets. This makes Pilates the most appropriate strength training/therapeutic form of exercise for injury, obviously.
However, sometimes I believe that our bodies can just be overworked and something as therapeutic as pilates even is not a replacement for just plain old rest! We all know our bodies better than anyone else, therefore as difficult as it is to take a few days off once we get into a fitness routine, we know when it is necessary.
We are all creatures of habit. I know that when I get into the habit of doing something especially regarding fitness, it is very difficult for me to break the routine without feeling wildly guilty (refer to my post on ‘guilt’!). I actually have to force myself not to workout for a few days to let my muscles recover fully. But sometimes this is necessary and it is really what we need.
Pushing yourself to the limit is good for achieving fitness goals, but pushing past this can cause injury which as we all know is counter productive and painful.
In closing, do not sacrifice physical wellness for the purpose of athletic gains..In the long run this will be disadvantageous as in the end, an injured body is not capable of much.