Strength training is more useful and more efficient than most people realize, and a valuable component of fitness and most injury rehabilitation — but not for the reasons most patients and professionals think. It is the gym-o-centric, load-bearing exercise that a few guys like to do — bodybuilding, pumping iron. Nearly everyone else ignores strength training, except during occasional New Year’s resolution phases, or when prescribed and/or supervised by a physical therapist.
Please don’t dismiss it! Much of strength training as you thought you knew it is probably a waste of time and even dangerous — but it definitely doesn’t have to be. In this article, I will spell out why strength training really matters and how to do it.
While I hope anyone who’s ever spent time in a gym will find this helpful, it’s mainly written for people with chronic pain and stubborn injuries who are wondering:
Where does strength training fit in to a recovery plan?
Neck pain is an almost universal human experience, afflicting almost everyone sooner or later. A particularly detailed neck pain tutorial like this one is probably overkill if you’ve just woken up with a stiff neck, and you were just looking for a little quick advice. Put some heat on your neck, maybe do a little stretching, and you’ll probably be right as rain in a couple days. If it gives you any trouble after that … well, see you back here in a couple weeks?
On the other hand, maybe it’s a real whopper of a neck crick. Maybe you can hardly move! Or maybe it’s the fifth crick in the neck you’ve had this year. Or maybe you’ve had low-grade but constant, chronic and exasperating neck stiffness ever since that bicycle accident in 2012. Maybe you are starting to wonder if there’s any way to actually reach into your neck, pull out your cervical spine, and put in a replacement unit! If that’s the case, this tutorial is definitely not overkill: you need plenty of good information, because education and fear-reduction may actually heal neck pain,12 while therapies, drugs, and surgeries have a generally poor track record.