Please advise me on training clients with hernia. How does cold weather affect them?
There are many different forms of herniation. You do not state where your client has the hernia or what type it is. The most common type is the lower abdominal hernia located in the “seam” of the abdominal wall (femoral hernia). There is generally a bulge in the area with pain on exertion. This bulge is a portion of the intestine protruding through the muscle wall. It is recommended that these “injuries” get repaired due to the high chance it will get worse by tearing open.
During an activity such as weight training, running or whatever, there is an increase in abdominal cavity pressure. This increase in pressure exacerbates the injury, causing more micro or macro tearing. Therefore, the bulge gets bigger and the pain increases. Two things usually happen at this point: activity decreases or stops or the person gets it repaired.
I could not locate any research in regards to hernias and cold temperatures. Your client’s sensitivity to cold may be due to the injured muscle tissue. Most femoral hernias are caused by a tearing of the collagen fibers that weave through the muscle tissues causing more strain on the other tissues. The cold may simply keep the injured tissues from “warming up” to a satisfactory level and thus stimulate the pain fibers due to the straining. Try a longer warm up when things do not feel right. Or try wearing some nylon bike shorts for extra support and increased warmth in the affected area. When in doubt, talk it over with your client’s health care provider. Hope this help out.