Patience is a virtue. This is especially true regarding spine pain and injuries. Very often, when working with athletes, there is a sense of urgency to return to normal training volume, intensity, and load. A lot of athletes believe that they will lose strength, speed, or power almost immediately if they can’t return to previous weights used or training intensity. But fortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
Developed strength is often a neurological adaptation. So, yes, in the interim, there may be a loss of strength, speed, or power as an injury is recovering, but it merely a temporary loss. Injuries take time to heal. Movement patterns must be retrained, strength deficiencies must be corrected. Once these things have been addressed, corrected, and reinforced; strength, speed, and power all return relatively quickly. But this process can’t be rushed.
In the past, with my own injuries, I’ve been too eager to return. And instead of taking the long, patient road, I would jump back to lifting weights that I had been using previously, but only because I “felt better” and no longer had pain. I had not necessarily improved. For a few years, I would routinely have minor (or major) flare ups, numerous times throughout the year. It took a long time to swallow my pride and admit to myself I couldn’t keep the training intensity or pace that I could previously.
Although I did have a low back injury last December, which I’ve written about recently, it was the first major low back episode I’ve had in roughly 3 years. Instead of 3-4 episodes a year, I went 3 years without any episodes. And again, since then, I’ve been able to return to even heavier weights in the gym, on the squat bar as well as the deadlift. But, since that episode, I’ve spent the last 9 months recovering. I’ve just now been lifting exceeding previous.