What to do When You Think You Might be Injured

Written by Jason Ferruggia Topics: Training

Guest Post by Keith Scott.

Not all injuries are really injuries.

Huh? What the hell does that mean?

It’s simple…over the years I have “magically cured” a lot of people’s injuries quickly because so many injuries are not really injuries, rather they are muscle spasms or knots that are causing pain and dysfunction.

This is not to say that these knots don’t cause major pain and problems…they do. It also doesn’t mean that they are to be ignored, because many spasms or knots are a sign that either something was tweaked and needs to be fixed, or that the shit is about to hit the fan (in other words, they are a warning signal to you that you are really going to get hurt.)

Muscle spams or knots can occur anywhere and to anyone. I don’t think there is a single person alive (maybe other than a baby) that doesn’t live with spasms or knots of some kind. Not all are going to kill you or cause problems. I have them in my neck and traps almost every day of my life as many people do.

I am talking more about the spontaneous knot or spasm that shows up after a training session that causes so much discomfort or pain that you think you have an injury. The truth is, you just might.

Knots occur naturally when you get injured (strain, sprain, etc.), for example, almost 100% of the time. So you have the pull (or strain) and also knots to go along with it. It is the body’s way of protecting itself. 

Sometimes knots occur for what seems like no good reason at all.

Be Proactive

I almost always tell people to foam roll, use a LAX ball, get a deep tissue massage, ART, etc… when there is pain or an injury.

(Note from Jay: I find the Voodoo Floss Bands to be extremely helpful with elbow, knee and ankle issues)

Take care of the knot or knots and you are at least half way to feeling much better. In some cases, getting rid of the knot might be all you need to do.

So, without even knowing what you did, just dealing with your soft tissue (i.e. knots, spams, adhesions) can really make a difference. So why not make that part of your plan? It really can’t hurt in the majority of the cases.

Avoid Movement Deficiencies & Dysfunction

The other thing to realize is that having knots or spasms can and will cause you to have movement deficiencies and cause dysfunction. When you are knotted up badly, you won’t function normally. This can cause pain, weakness and over time other problems.

The rotator cuff is a prime example. Many guys have major knots and adhesions in the cuff and don’t even realize it. It is many times the cause of shoulder pain and problems.

With my baseball guys I will take about 5 minutes at the end of their session and work the knots out of the rotator cuff and almost 100% of the time, tightness, pain and weakness are gone. They feel great and also report that they throw better and faster the next day.

It isn’t magic, rather it is what I call “Resetting the cuff” so it functions the way it is supposed to function. Add some proper strengthening to the routine and they tend to maintain this over time. 

This is something that we can all do anywhere in the body.

This is why soft tissue work is so important. We don’t always do it enough or correctly, but something is better than nothing. 

So, back to the original point…”Not all injuries are injuries.”

The take home message is that when you are in pain or feel like you just injured yourself (or both) you may have an injury. You also might just have some spasms. Either way, you will have spams and knots.

And, either way, taking care of those spasms will help you feel a lot better. Sometimes it can get rid of the problem in an instance. Sometimes it just makes things feel better.

***Don’t assume that you are NOT injured and you just have spams. Always assume that you might have an injury, but don’t panic either. That is why soft tissue work is vital and in many cases can be a great self-diagnostic tool too.

PS. Want more killer info on rehab, prehab and injury related questions? Join the Renegade Strength Club today.

Leave a Reply

6 Responses to What to do When You Think You Might be Injured

  1. Jarkko Helenius December 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    I’m glad to have fully incorporated foam rolling into my routine. Don’t really know how to do soft tissue work on my shoulders which I actually think might be a bit knotted like said in the article. How does it exactly happen?

  2. Ron Mamo December 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    I enjoy reading all your emails
    With regards to injuries

  3. Ron Mamo December 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    I enjoy reading all your emails
    With regards to injuries. I recently underwent an ACL reconstruction (5 weeks ago) i ruptured it while drilling takedowns for MMA, all was going well, I started squatting and was going to incorporate dead lifting back into my routine very soon. 2 days ago I woke up yawned and stretched and felt a massive pop in the back of my knee with pain, I thought the worst thinking I had ruptured my ACL again but found out from the hospital that I had injured the hamstring from where they harvested tendon for the reconstruction. Now the background is over.
    My question is since the injury I have put on about 5 kg of fat because of inactivity and mentally I miss training and the associated cardio and strength sessions.
    Can you please help design a work out where I can get some strength and cardio sessions without putting too much strain on my injured leg.
    What you do really helps people.
    Thank you Ron

  4. Eric December 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    Good stuff,I try to get massages weekly and foam roll daily and it curbs most minor pains. BTW that picture is grotesque

  5. Becky Fox March 14, 2013 at 6:03 am #

    Foam rolling is a must for me now and it definitely has helped to prevent any injuries and pain especially in my back and legs.

  6. Ed Rodgers April 10, 2013 at 6:53 am #

    Love the article, do a lot of foam rolling and soft tissue with a lacrosse ball for back and glutes, but I wondered what this “resetting the cuff” protocol is. As someone with some shoulder problems, is it something I can easily incorporate, can it be done solo?