Have you heard this statement before? It applies to a lot of different scenarios but in our world of treating injuries, it couldn’t be more true.
Why do we wait until things go completely sideways or the wheels come off until we address pain and injury?
We think “it’ll just go away” or that “time will help it heal.” Sometimes those things are true but more often than not, you’ll eventually end up needing more than time.
You see, most injuries don’t just happen. The exception there is traumatic injuries like falling and breaking a bone. But here, we’re talking more about overuse injuries or those little nagging things that creep up and then suddenly explode one day.
Let’s talk about an example….
You wake up one morning and your back feel a little stiff. Maybe it’s following a heavy workout the day before or maybe you’re sleeping in a different bed. It goes away after you’ve been up and moving for a while but the next day it’s back. And the next day. And the next day. You think it’ll eventually just go away. Then it gets a little tighter one day. Maybe you look up some generic stretches from Dr. Google and try that. Maybe it helps, maybe it doesn’t. Still, you think just a little more time should help.
Then, one day you wake up and you’re getting ready for work. You bend over to put your socks on or brush your teeth at the sink and… BAM!!! Your back hurts so bad you can’t stand back up. You can’t move. All you can do is get on the floor and lie there, hoping it will go away.
You have to call into work because you can’t get off the floor. There go your workouts for a while too. What has happened to you?
This is an all too common scenario we see as physical therapists. People ignore the little warning signs you body is sending you. Those little aches, pains, tight feelings – those are all ways your body tells you something isn’t right. The more you ignore those things, the worse they usually end up getting.
What could’ve been a couple PT visits at the beginning of this scenario might now turn into at least and MD office visit, maybe even an ER visit, costly (and often unnecessary) imaging, medications with side effects, and sometimes people even toss around that scary “S” word… surgery. You end up having to take time away from work and from doing your favorite activities.
The point here is, we all too often ignore those warning signs our body is sending us, causing catastrophe down the road. Getting those little signs addressed right away when the start or doing preventative screenings and visits to identify potential injury causing things such as weakness or mobility problems can go a long way in preventing these major episodes of pain and dysfunction.
Now, do you need to run to the PT for every single little ache and pain. No. We’re not suggesting that. But if you’ve had something “off” and it’s persisting beyond just a few days, call us and come in to have a look at it. If you catch these things early, it usually only requires a couple visits and some exercises to work on at home. That saves you more pain, time off of work and away from your regular exercise, and saves you $$$ not having to pursue costly visits to the ER, medications, and imaging.
Better yet, get ahead of these things by doing regular Total Body Wellness Assessments. Think about them as a physical for your muscles and joints. We’ll look at your mobility and strength and movement patterns throughout your entire body and develop a customized home exercise plan to address anything we see that could lead to injury down the road.
Do you see now how “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” when it comes to injuries?