So we start in the middle of nowhere, corn as far as the eye can see in a pre-modern major city, with one thin, dusty trail leading to the heart of the future mega-city.
Dusty trail = your muscle.
People start utilizing the trail and soon, more foot traffic (like from weight-training) naturally makes the dusty path a little wider, and bigger, slowly morphing our path into a dirt road (neural adaptation comes first, then muscles). Now, horses and wagons make their way to the town (bigger and more stimuli), leaving the city (your brain) no choice but to make that dirt road a paved road (receives feedback the muscle needs to be improved and sends nerve stimuli saying we need a stronger muscle). This paved road is obviously an improvement and able to handle more and heavier traffic (progressive overload). Then there are cars. And trucks. And semi trailers. More and more stimuli that transition the road to an avenue, and then a highway, and then a super-highway. And on to whatever that is in China above…
This all sounds great, but it’s obviously not that simple. At every junction along the development of our road, things happen. Potholes, accidents, or inexplicable traffic jams - just like injuries!
That man-sized pothole? Trigger-point adhesion.
Those semi-fixed potholes that are still really bumpy, but sort of fixed? Muscles and joints that “kind of get better” (improved with collagen-infused scar tissue, but not stretchy any more so they lack mobility) with half-assed stretching, foam rolling, and at-home physical therapy work that nobody ever does.
20 car pile-up? Too much stimulation leading to a muscle that can’t handle the amount of stress leading to physical and mental exhaustion, no muscular gains, and a broken body.
Enter the construction crews for repair and maintenance…fascial stretch therapists (shameless plug!), physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, and more.
Accidents, change of season, hazardous weather, salt, plowing…all that wear and tear leads to more potholes.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Lightbulb. You need to have construction crews routinely working to either expand or repair roadways. Whether that’s FST work, PT work, cupping, acupuncture, self-myofascial release, self-fascial stretching using a band/swiss ball, or whatever. This has to be an all the time thing, not a some or none of the time thing. Could you imagine what those roads would look like without any intervention?
Whenever I get asked how often people should schedule FST and for what duration will they have to do it for, I sympathize but chuckle a bit. Injuries and pain are always going to be part of the process, particularly if you challenge your ‘road’ to keep growing. They can, however, be mitigated through being mindful of what is impacting your body and how things are presenting themselves day-to-day.
The principles are always the same, stimuli in = reaction out. Your body is constantly reacting to stressors placed on it, and that includes trauma. The more you address these stimuli and reactions with pre- and post-rehabilitation work, the better that road will be built. Take care of your super-highway and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.