I have heard some strange theories through the years. People still think the Earth is flat. People think that 5G causes Corona. People think the moon landing was faked.
As well as these every day examples of idiocy, here are some healthcare related bits of misinformation that somehow just won’t die.
I have already written about RICE here, but it needs stating again. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation is a technique used for sprains, strains, swelling and injuries. It helps to slow down the inflammation process and all that swelling, which is great. Except you need the inflammation process to heal! Your body doesn’t ever do something without a reason, so all that horrible swelling you get, it isn’t your enemy. It’s there to help protect and heal you, flushing the area with the nutrients your body needs.
When the guy who literally wrote the book on RICE says it’s wrong, then it’s time to reassess. A better anacronym would be POLICE – Protection, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression, Elevation. While this is better, it incorporates movement and using the injury, it still has its downsides – the compression and elevation. The best thing is to rest it until you can start loading and using again. Move it as much as possible too.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, things like Ibuprofen – perfectly safe right? Headache, so just take a few ibuprofen and you’re good, right?
Well, up to a point.
If you take NSAIDs as a matter of course then you are setting yourself up for, at the least, stomach ulcers. Just because you can buy a packet of Ibuprofen from your local shop and still get change from a 20p, doesn’t mean they’re safe and something you should take without thinking about. 100,000 admissions to A&E a year in the US alone, as well as over 16,00 deaths. They also increase the chances of cardiac arrest by 31%! As well as just masking pain and not addressing the root cause of why you hurt.
I’m not saying never take Ibuprofen or any other pain killers, I’m saying be mindful that these drugs have side-effects and potential consequences.
Want a safer alternative? Chiropractic.
Knees Over Toes When Squatting
This is one that rips the fitness community apart and from what I can see it comes from a piece of good advice that has been taken a bit too literally. Originally it came as advice to stop people from coming onto their toes too much when squatting, a cue to keep their weight on their heels. Now it is taken as literally as possible, with some coaches freaking out that if your knees track slightly forward of the toes your legs will explode.
Utter nonsense. If your knees were about to disintegrate every time they tracked forward you’d see a lot more injuries from people just walking up stairs.
Don’t take it to extremes, but don’t freak out if your knees go forward a little bit. You’ll be fine, I promise.
Squats Bad for your Knees
I don’t know where this one came from. It doesn’t even make sense!! Squats strengthen the whole leg, including the area around the knees. Strong legs means strong knees.
Now, is it possible to squat with poor technique and hurt yourself? Yes. Obviously. So make sure you know what you’re doing – loads of good, free videos out there, like this one from NeverSate – check out everything he’s done if you like the gym.
Deadlifts bad for your back
Have you ever worked anywhere that gives manual handling training? Then you’ve heard “Lift with your legs, not your back” about a thousand times. What’s funny is – when you lift like they teach you, you are actually lifting more with your back! But it’s the safest way to do it.
I think Eddie Hall knows a thing or two about lifting with his legs and back. Strong, thick legs and a VERY strong back. But here’s the thing, imagine a Coke can. You can stand on it quite easily, but if you put a slight dent in the side of it, it will crumple very easily. So again, it’s all in the technique! Lift properly and you can pick up heavy things without rusk of injury. Do it with poor form and I’ve had people in my office who hurt themselves lifting a can of beans.
Sleep on your Back
Have you ever met anyone who can sleep on their back? No, me either. And frankly by this point, I don’t want to either. In an ideal world, you’d sleep on your back like a vampire in a coffin. The “worst” way to sleep is in the recovery position. For me, that’s the only way I can get to sleep! So what do I do? Not sleep and just lie in the “perfect” sleeping position, staring at the ceiling forever? No. I go to sleep and in the morning I get up, move around and stretch.
These are just a few of the poor bits of advice I’ve come across. How about you – what stupid advice have you had given to you over the years, by friends, coaches or doctors? Leave a comment below and let me know!