Words Of Wisdom From Frank Forencich
Speaking about back pain, I read an interesting view from the book Exuberant Animal. What Forencich says is intriguing and makes absolute sense. When you are ailing from back pain, the usual preventive measure would be bed-rest. Is the theory of bed-rest flawed? Yes, says, Forencich. He says that study after study has now confirmed that bed rest is no more effective and often counter-productive. Bed rest deconditions the muscles of the trunk, and that can delay recovery even further.
He states, “Obviously, back pain creates doubt in the body. Safety of movement is called into question and the body begins to wonder what will happen in movement. But bed rest does nothing to address the issue. If you lie still for a few days or weeks, the pain may diminish slightly, but the memory remains and the primary question goes unanswered. In the end, bed rest proves nothing to the body. When you finally stand up and try to get back to life, you will still have to face your physical doubts.”
Let us focus our attention on what he has to say about injuries in general. He makes a convincing point here also. He says, “The same principle seems to hold true across many forms of common injury. Activity heals, not so much by what it does to tissue, but by what it does to the mind. Once safety is assured, the body has less interest in whatever pain messages are coming from the tissue. The tissue itself may still be torn or inflamed, but the brain’s self-generated opiates moderate the sensation and our attention is free to turn elsewhere.”
In most cases, when my gym clients suffer from an injury, I prescribe them active rest. You have to move without hurting or aggravating the injury. The movement that may not be as vigorous as when you were injury free, but it will help heal the injured part. To rest without moving can be counterproductive. Also, it has more to do with the mind than with the injured tissue and convincing the body that it is safe to move should be the primary focus. Moreover, I can now endorse my views with authority—Forencich is on my side.