The Law of Repetitive Motion
Not too long ago, I had a conversation with a good friend and patient who was a prior middle distance runner in college. As a young adult, he made the transition to Sprint Triathlon. I had been treating him for hip and low back pain off and on for over year, but because of his crazy work schedule, he was unable to commit to a corrective rehab program.
Combine this with the crazy training schedule that is synonymous with triathletes, and it was just a matter of time before he hit rock bottom. I remember our last conversation toward the end of tri-season, when he mentioned he could not understand why his adjustments would not hold and he continued to experience back pain and tight hips no matter how often he got adjusted or stretched (due to a lateral and posterior chain weakness on the right side).
I asked him, “how often and how far do you run”? He said he ran at least 7 miles/day at least 5 day/week. I said to him, there is 5,280 feet in a mile, so you run 36,960 feet per day, and 184,800 feet per week. The average stride length is 3 feet, so you are reinforcing a bad movement pattern 61,600 times/week. Since the number of repetitions and force of impact is inversely proportional to amplitude and relaxation or rest, the answer to his burning question was all in the math.
The only way to overcome injury was to decrease the reinforcement of bad movement pattern, which in this case was running with pelvic unleveling, decrease the force of impact by either running in a pool or the alter-G treadmill, increase the amplitude of treatment, or increase recovery time. For optimum recovery, making changes to all four components would be best. In Mike’s case, making changes to all four components during the off season helped significantly. As a result, his adjustments have held, his hips feel looser, and his times have improved..