Pain is the last symptom to present and the first to dissipate. As we push ourselves to be better, faster, and stronger, we often use pain as an indicator that we are healed and can begin increasing training intensity again and pushing performance.
Unfortunately, focusing on performance enhancement prior to being properly healed can lead to development of compensation patterns, incorrect firing order, muscular imbalances, and decreased mobility, which can help create temporary improvements but predispose us to a process.
The Cumulative Injury Cycle
The cumulative injury cycle manifests when altered movement strategies create weak, tense, and tight muscles. Weak muscles tend to tighten. Tight muscles tend to weaken and become more inhibited, thus becoming weaker and tighter still. This increases the likelihood for re-injury or more serious injury.
Without correcting the quality, tone and texture of the musculature, restoring movement to the affected joints, and retraining firing patterns, the injury perpetuates a domino effect of compensation patterns and can develop into permanent structural changes. Early intervention is key to preventing such changes. Additionally, maintaining balance, range of motion, strength, and firing order allows your performance to improve in the long and short term.