Think of what your sport asks of your body. If you’re a CrossFit athlete, look at something like butterfly pull-ups — a motion you might be repeating several dozens of times a week. If you’re an Olympic weightlifter, think of your split jerk, which requires you to split with the same foot forward every single time. Simple wear-and-tear is enough to do damage already. Now, imagine you’re repeating motions like this with even slightly flawed technique. You’re very likely going to be looking at a sports injury. What’s an athlete to do?
And we haven’t even gotten into more serious mishaps. You might jump down from a rope climb, land on the excess rope, and twist your ankle. Or maybe you take a nasty spill on your bike.
There are countless ways to sustain bodily injury, and yet ironically, certain pains and sports injuries are more common than others. While time is one of the best healers, there’s more you can do to speed up recovery and prepare yourself for future workouts.
Let’s look at some of the most common sports injury pain a little more closely and how to use PowerDot to get through it.
PowerDot and the Most Common Sports Injury Pain
1. Back Injury and Pain
Around 16 million adults suffer from persistent or chronic back pain. Why is the back such a common ending place for injury? Put simply, it plays a huge role, largely because it helps to connect your entire body.
Furthermore, you need your back to do almost everything. Want to go for a run? You need your back. Want to do strict presses? You need your back. Whether you’re training your lower body, upper body, or both simultaneously, your back is involved.
And even if you’re not training, you’re using your back. Are you sitting up in your chair right now reading this blog? Your back is helping you do that.
This helps us to understand, then, why whenever you sustain a sports injury, your back might bear the brunt of it — even if the injury is actually somewhere else in your body. Hip problems, knee problems, shoulder problems, neck problems — all of them can leave you with back pain.
What to Do About It
The thing with your back is that there are a lot of smaller muscles in there that despite their size, have a huge job to do. Yes, heavy deadlifts will make your back stronger. But sometimes, you don’t need to go that far. Also keep these things in mind.
- Before training, always do a proper warm-up and cooldown.
- Spend less time sitting and more time standing moving.
- Pay attention to your posture.
- Use a mobility tool like a foam roller to help loosen and lengthen your back muscles and work out the crusty parts.
Whether it’s simple post-workout soreness or an actual injury, you can place the PowerDot pads on the specific areas of your back that hurt to help block pain signals from reaching your brain and also to release endorphins.
Did you try to pull too much while doing heavy deadlifts? The back pad will help ease the pain in your lower back. For pain in the middle and upper area, place the electrodes a few inches apart on the targeted area. This might mean your erector spinae muscles or something more in the neighborhood of your trapezius muscles.
2. Knee Injuries
Why does it feel like so many people you know have had a knee injury at some point? It’s because knee injuries are just that common.
How is that even possible? It’s just a joint. All it does is bend, right? Not quite. What a lot of us don’t realize is that the knee is actually quite vulnerable. For starters, it connects the two longest bones in your body. Add to that the fact that the entire weight of your body moves through your feet to your knees.
Your knees are doing a lot of work!
But there’s more. The knee becomes even more vulnerable as it bends, because its stability decreases due to its surrounding structures and tissues providing less support.
Plus, the knees are a little like the back in that an injury that starts elsewhere can end up in your knee. For example, hip or ankle problems can lead to knee pain.
What to Do About It
Because knee injuries can happen so abruptly and with no warning, special attention must be paid.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Strengthen the muscles involved in knee movement, including your hips and glutes.
- Wear shoes that provide support, especially considering the physical activity you’re participating in.
- Take time to stretch your calves, quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, and glutes, particularly because these muscles can become so tight from excessive sitting.
Now’s a good time to remind you that you should never place the PowerDot pads on a joint. Not only will they have a hard time sticking (since your joints move), but they won’t be able to target your injury pain the way you need them to. So, avoid sticking the pads directly on your knee.
Instead, place the pads above/below the knee (start here, if you don’t know the exact nature of your injury), on your calf, or along the quad or hamstring muscles. It might take a little trial and error to see where you get the best results, since all of these muscles interact with your knee and can affect how it feels and performs. Knee pain is notoriously tricky to investigate, so patience is key.
3. Shoulder Injuries
Here’s another problem that so many athletes seem to deal with. Shoulder injuries often happen as a result of excessively repeated motions, particularly if they’re overhead.
We mentioned butterfly pull-ups earlier, but CrossFit athletes aren’t the only ones dealing with this. Think of golfers practicing their stroke, tennis players and their forehand, and softball/baseball pitchers. Common results are torn rotator cuffs, impingement, and labral tears. Some will need surgery to repair, while others can heal with time, physical therapy, mobility, and other non-surgical means.
We once again want to mention excessive sitting and poor posture here, because they very often contribute to shoulder problems.
What to Do About It
The solution here might seem obvious: Use your shoulders less. But tell that to any athlete and you might be met with an eye-roll. Here are some other suggestions.
- Always include a warm-up and cooldown.
- Watch your posture — rounded shoulders lead to tight pecs, which is a recipe for disaster.
- Don’t strain to reach in a direction your body isn’t prepared to reach in.
- Always focus on quality before quantity.
That last one in particular is going to be really important. Since shoulder injuries are often caused by repetitive movements, it’s safe to assume that the quality of the movement will start to break down due to fatigue. This is where you’re most at risk! Never sacrifice technique for reps.
Similar to knee injuries, where you place your PowerDot pads for a shoulder injury will depend on what specific type of injury you have. Shoulder injuries can originate in the muscles of the shoulder, but they can also start in the back, neck, and pecs.
To start, place one pad toward the front of the deltoid muscle and one toward the back. This is one of the most common ways to use PowerDot for a shoulder injury.
Even the most careful, diligent athletes will suffer from sports injuries. To an extent, it’s simply part of training. After putting your body through so much stress, of course something will eventually give out. But the goal here is to minimize this occurrence as much as possible. Furthermore, taking an active role in avoiding a sports injury can help you heal faster if you do end up hurting yourself.
Keeping your body in excellent shape requires a little help. That’s where we come in. PowerDot is here to strengthen your muscles, speed up recovery, and improve circulation by harnessing the magic of electric muscle stimulation.
And whenever you’re in pain, whether it’s from a sports injury or simple soreness (or even arthritis), our Smart TENS programming is here to ease your discomfort and help you get back to your life.
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Learn more about the types of chronic back pain.