It’s a sad but unfortunate truth that most cheerleaders will experience some sort of injury during their cheer career. Many will experience multiple injuries, and some will have pain throughout their entire cheer career and will then make it their life’s mission to help as many cheer athletes stay healthy and pain-free…*ahem* (love you guys)
With that being said, there is a question that needs to be discussed when it comes to injuries and that is, “what should I do when I’m injured?”
Back in the day (I believe it was a Wednesday…) there used to be this concept of “RICE” that was used when people would have an injury.
Rest was smart because it felt good to not use an injured area. Ice was good because…well ice just feels amazing. Compression because there is usually swelling and that has to be bad, right? Elevation because…well compression didn’t seem effective enough by itself to reduce the swelling…and “RICE” sounds much cooler than “RIC”. (Flair…woooooooo. Okay, maybe too much coffee this morning)
Anyway, the problem then became that RICE alone was actually making people worse! How can this be?! It feels so good though! Unfortunately, back then we didn’t know that completely immobilizing a joint and not using it at all was actually causing more problems (oh the irony).
Fast forward to current times. We have gathered a lot more data and are able to apply more scientifically based protocols! Hooray!
For an injury to heal properly, we must USE the area that is injured. Injured areas need to be safely loaded (used/exercised) to promote proper healing and to maintain a strong neurological connection. Increased blood flow, safe increases in strength and range of motion, and a strong brain body connection will drive the healing process much better.
In fact, nowadays, after some orthopedic surgeries, patients will wake up and begin using a machine that actually moves the joint that they just had surgery on…why? Because MOVEMENT IS LIFE, MOTION IS LOTION, and other cliche phrases about the importance of movement that I cannot think of because my brain is currently on a caffeine rollercoaster…squirrel…
If you are dealing with an injury, it is in your best interest to find a provider that can guide you through and ACTIVE rehab program. By no means am I saying that the components of RICE are bad and that you shouldn’t do them at all during the different phases of an injury. I recommend ice usage every single day to almost every patient I see. But if RICE is the only thing you do when you’re hurting…be prepared to hurt in the future.
And look…here’s some legal stuff….*This advice applies to injuries that have been determined to be conservatively manageable by your physician. Unfortunately, some injuries require less conservative measures. If you are dealing with an injury, contact a primary care physician to discuss the severity of your injury before beginning any rehabilitation program*
The Cheer Doc is an online resource for cheer athletes, gymnasts, tumblers, and other acrobatic type athletes to learn how to improve athletic performance as well prevent injuries.