Carrying capacity vs. carrying load

In our previous blog we explained that anatomical variation such as a leg length differencethe position of your pelvis or the curve 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 lower back pain at least once in their lives. It is very easy to attribute these complaints to this difference in leg length or a different position of the spine. Do not be fooled! 

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

When your load is greater than your capacity, problems often arise. Maybe you recognize this. You do just that one thing which 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.

Bearing capacity

We as physiotherapists often get questions like what can I do myself to prevent these complaints? Or why does my back suddenly start to hurt? 

When you start to understand how this principle works, you will notice that it becomes easier and easier to prevent complaints and to 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. In the first case, you have to take care that your workload is not too high. 

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

and sufficient rest and relaxation. So this 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 at home or your training in the form of running. The activity will slowly fall outside of your circle.

By looking at what the load on your body has been and by looking at whether you have taken enough care of the load capacity, you can often trace back why some injuries have occurred. See where you can make adjustments and how you can deal with this better in the future.

Here are a few tips: 
1.Make sure you have enough relaxation during the week.
Too much stress reduces your load capacity. Make sure you can recharge regularly so your proverbial circle can take care of 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 will not only make your muscles stronger but also your tendons and other connective tissue such as your intervertebral discs and bones. (enlarge your circle!)

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

People underestimate how important sleep is to their recovery. Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep to recover sufficiently from both physical and mental strain. During our sleep, cells are repaired and the brain is very active to process information, but also memories that 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 (falling asleep and staying asleep) and sleep efficiency (time spent asleep) determine your sleep quality, regardless of your age.

So sleeping well means:

  • The vast majority are also in bed(85%) 
  • Within half an hour sleep when you go to bed
  • At most, I wake up once in the night
  • When you're awake, it's 20 minutes at most.

5.Are you in doubt about something? 
Not sure where to start? Get help from a professional!

Sometimes good advice contributes enormously to the reduction of complaints. By better understanding what you can and cannot do, you create an optimal environment for recovery. Look for a therapist who puts you in your power and who takes into account what you do as a person instead of someone who treats you like a diagnosis! 


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