Carrying capacity vs. carrying load

In our previous blog we explained that anatomical variation such as a leg length difference, position of your pelvis or the arch of your back in most cases is not as influential as most people(and therapists) think.

Consider that more than 85% of the population will experience low back pain at least once in their lifetime. It is very easy to then attribute those complaints to this difference in leg length or a different position of the spine. Don't be fooled!

You as a person have a carrying capacity (load capacity) and also always a certain burden. This balance is always very personal and therefore different for everyone.

When your carrying load exceeds your carrying capacity, problems often arise. Perhaps you recognize this. You do just that one thing that you later recognize causes your symptoms to flare up again. Or you are dealing with a stressful period and you notice that your neck pain starts to play up again.

Carrying capacity

We as physical therapists often get questions like what can I do myself to prevent these symptoms? Or why did my back suddenly start hurting?

When you begin to understand how this principle works, you will find that you can more and more easily prevent complaints and better recognize what you can or cannot handle at that moment. We want to help you with this!

In a complaint-free situation, there is a balance between load and load capacity. Again your load or bearing load is determined by both your mental load and physical load.

Load capacity, or carrying capacity, is determined by the amount and quality of your sleep, diet, how we deal with stress

and sufficient rest and relaxation. So this also indirectly contributes to your carrying capacity(and not just how strong you are).

When you suddenly have a huge increase in a certain activity, such as sitting for a long time now that you are working more from home or your workout in the form of running. The activity will slowly fall outside your circle.

By looking at what the strain has been on your body and by seeing if you care enough about load capacity, you can often trace things back to why some injuries occurred. See where you can make adjustments and how you can better deal with this in the future.

Here are a few tips:
1.Make sure you have enough relaxation during the week.
Too much stress reduces your workload. Make sure you can recharge regularly so that your proverbial circle can accommodate everything again.

2.Make sure you are as strong as possible.
The bigger your buffer the more you can handle. Do regular (strength) training. This ensures not only stronger muscles but also more loadable tendons and other types of connective tissue such as your intervertebral discs and bones, for example. (enlarge your circle!)

3.When something is new build it slowly
For example, people often develop symptoms with running because they do too much in a short period of time. Connective tissue (muscles, tendons, joints) is not used to this load and may get overloaded faster this way. Also in the gym, complaints can develop due to the principle of wanting to build up too fast and do too much.

4.Sleep!
People underestimate how important sleep is to their recovery. Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep to adequately recover from both their physical and mental strain. During our sleep, cells are repaired and the brain is very active to process information, as well as memories you acquire during the day.

An important guideline is whether you feel rested when you wake up in the morning. According to the American sleep institute the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), sleep continuity (sleeping in and out) and sleep efficiency(time in bed spent sleeping) determine your sleep quality, regardless of your age.

Sleeping well therefore involves:

  • The vast majority are also in bed(85%)
  • Sleep within half an hour when you go to bed
  • At most waking up once in the night
  • When you are awake this is 20 minutes at most

5.Having doubts about something?
Not sure where to start? get help from a professional!

Sometimes good advice contributes immensely to decreasing symptoms. By better understanding what you can and cannot do, you create an optimal environment for recovery. Look for a therapist who actually empowers you and includes you in what you are doing as a person rather than someone who treats you like a diagnosis!

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