Why Your Injury Isn’t Because You Lift Heavy Weights

Why Your Injury Isn’t Because You Lift Heavy Weights

Today, I want to share a story with you about my own body and where I hurt myself doing Crossfit. Dr. Derek Nielsen of Kaizen Physical Therapy and I treat patients every day who have some kind of injury or pain from working out. In this video, we talk about why exercising can make you hurt.

This past week I was doing dead lifts as part of our WOD at the gym and after a few rounds, I could start feeling it in my back. When we finished, my back really hurt. Every time I started getting to the edge of my heavyweight for dead lifts, I felt it. It was tight, a bit sharp and felt like it wanted to just grab.

The week before at Crossfit, I was doing pull ups and started to feel it in my neck after a few rounds, especially once I started struggling to get the last few reps. Almost immediately my neck tightened up and for few days later, my neck was sore and stiff.

What do these issues sound like? Slipped disc? Herniated disc? Pulled muscle?

To us, it sounds like a stability problem. I happen to know my body well as a physical therapist but still sometimes need someone else to look at me to give me clues or tell me when to back off. 😉

Your body can only handle so much weight with an exercise, and when you near the max, other muscles kick in to try to help you move that weight. When others kick in, a lot of times it can lead to the muscles that are working overtime to tighten up, cramp, spasm and even cause pain. Pain is really just an alarm saying, “Hey! Please take a break. We can’t withstand this over and over again!”

What we have to do when this happens is back off. Recognize that you are compensating for a weakness and unload some of the weight. Your body is so good at self-preservation that it can take care of itself. It’s going to lock the muscles down and not let you move. It’s not going to allow you to damage your neck or back.

So, here’s what you do. Don’t stop lifting. You just might need to modify or scale back and listen to your body more. Ask yourself which part of your body should be the focus of the exercise. Then you need to listen to when it signals it’s time to scale back.

It’s not exercise until failure. It’s exercise until your body signals that it’s not strong enough to stabilize. During those pull ups, my core was losing it’s ability to stabilize my torso, so my neck was trying to kick in to help lift me up.

If this sounds like something you’ve experienced before, or it seems to happen all too frequently, click here to come apply for one of our free full-body diagnostic exams so we can help you uncover your full potential, show you modifications that will improve your workouts and keep you in the gym lifting the weight you want!

About The Author

Aaron LeBauer

Dr. Aaron LeBauer is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist. He owns LeBauer Physical Therapy, LLC, with his wife Andra, in Greensboro, N.C. He has been helping active people stay fit, active and healthy without medications, injections or surgery since 1999. He earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Elon University in 2008. Dr. LeBauer graduated from Duke University in 1996 with a B.A. in History and moved to San Francisco where he studied Massage Therapy and Health Education at the National Holistic Institute. He has specialized in Myofascial Release since 2000 and is an Instructor with the John F. Barnes MFR Seminars. A native of Greensboro, Dr. LeBauer returned in 2005 to continue the third generation of LeBauers as health care professionals in Greensboro. Dr. LeBauer helps weekend warriors, high level athletes, desk jockeys, students, children and anyone with pain, stiffness return to the activities the love without expensive imaging, pain medications, injections or surgery. He specializes in treating people with chronic conditions, pain and injuries which have not responded to traditional treatments and therapies with the goal of helping patients have less pain, move better and feel wonderful in their bodies. Dr. LeBauer also helps other physical therapists start and grow successful cash-based physical therapy practices. He has developed an online training course that describes in detail how to start a small private practice, along with his marketing secrets and strategy. He is currently available for recorded telephone and video coaching sessions, email support, on-site visits and speaking engagements. Contact him for more information, rates and services.. Dr. LeBauer enjoys riding one of his vintage Vespa and Lambretta scooters or his bicycle to work. He has raced bicycles since high school and as a category 1 amateur throughout the United States. He was based out of Northern California and North Carolina and spent a very memorable summer racing in Belgium, France and the Netherlands. He enjoys working in his garden and has an edible landscape including pears, apples, scuppernogs (native muscadine grapes), raspberries, blueberries, figs, various seasonal vegetables and shiitake mushrooms. He has two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife.

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