Don’t ignore those niggles
Let’s face it BJJ is a tough sport for anybody, regardless of age; but once you get to your thirties, forties and beyond, your body just doesn’t have the same resilience as it once did. Inevitably injuries will occur much more frequently and usually a lot easier than they used to, heck, at our age even bending over to pick up your belt can cause serious back injury.
We all know the difference between a niggle and a serious injury; one prevents you from training to your full potential and the other prevents you or ‘should’ prevent you from training at all. Fortunately for me, at present, I don’t have any serious injuries, however if I counted on my fingers how many niggles I have, I would soon run out of fingers for sure. Incidentally, ten of my niggles would be the sum of my fingers.
We wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, attempt to train when we have a serious injury, it really wouldn’t be wise and yet when we have niggles in our bodies we ignore them and train right through them which when you think about it, is really not very smart at all.
A niggle is your body’s way of reporting a micro trauma to you, you should pay attention to the message and address it. Now, sure, some of these niggles will get better by themselves, especially with a little bit of time out and rest but other niggles will develop into more serious injuries that may put you out of training for much, much longer. These injuries could have been avoided, had we taken notice of our bodies.
A good physiotherapist friend of mine says he has lost count of the number of injuries he has had treat because his clients never reported it to him when it was just a niggle. Had the client mentioned it at the time those injuries would likely never occurred.
You may not have a physiotherapist on hand each time you feel a niggle in your body but you can address it yourself and make sure it doesn’t escalate into a more serious injury. If you feel any discomfort in your body whatsoever take a moment to assess the pain and consider whether training through it might risk more serious injury further down the line. Now I appreciate we are not all doctors and paramedics so we may not know whether the niggle is something that may develop into more serious injury, so this is when we really need to use our common sense.
Step 1- Obviously the first thing to assess is the severity of the pain but I would hazard a guess that if we are referring to the pain as a niggle then it isn’t really that severe, it’s more of an annoyance. So assuming the pain isn’t severe enough to be described as a serious injury then we can move on to the next step.
Step 2 – If the pain or problem is say, in the triceps or quadriceps area, then there is a good chance that the pain is from muscle damage or bruising, continuing training through this type of problem is unlikely to develop into anything more serious. However if you do continue training, it will only delay the recovery time and stop us performing at our best. If however, the pain is in your knee, elbow, neck or any other joint then training through it is likely to cause much more serious problems in the future.
Training when we are dealing with any type of joint pain is really not wise at all, we should rest and ice for a week or so and take some anti-inflammatories and if the pain continues after a week then we should see a medical professional.
The bottom line is; if we have any type of niggle in our bodies at an age when it takes a lot longer to recover, we should not take any chances, rest out for a week and give our bodies time to bounce back.