Remember the good old days when you’d feel a niggling injury but train through it anyway and in a couple of days it would mysteriously disappear?
Or you could walk down a set of stairs without any pain in your knees?
Or you could participate in any chosen activity and not have to modify anything?
What about waking up in the morning and your body feeling GREAT…..
Do you remember what that used to feel like?
Ahhhhhhh the memories. Those were good times weren’t they!
Unfortunately as we age, the wear and tear starts catching up with us and overuse injuries are far more common.
This isn’t just a problem for our physical well being, but also our mental health.
If you love exercise and injuries are preventing you from doing what you love, it can have a devastating affect on your entire well being, however, it’s not the end of the world!
The way I see it, we have 2 options:
- Wallow in self pity and turn into a couch potato.
- Accept your fate. Look for the positives. TAKE ACTION. Adapt and overcome!
I’m assuming if you’re still reading, you’ve chosen option 2 – great choice.
So let’s get started.:
1. Accept your fate:
You have sustained an injury and before too long you’ll figure out that crying (unfortunately) won’t fix it.
If you are a crier, and you find that it does actually help, then go for it … BUT…
Only within your allocated “Woe Is Me” time frame.
Your “Woe Is Me” time frame is a maximum of 24 hours (sorry no exceptions for anyone – the universe doesn’t care about your extenuating circumstances). During this time you are allowed to:
- Hate the world,
- Claim life is unfair,
- Wish you could turn back time,
- Punch inanimate objects (as long as they’re your own) and
- Generally feel sorry for yourself.
It is important to get this out of your system so you don’t keep dragging it around with you for the next 6 months.
Then hopefully by the end of your 24 hr “Woe Is Me” time, you come to the conclusion that:
FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF IS A TOTAL WASTE OF TIME & ENERGY.
Your next step is to accept the fact that you will lose specific fitness. This doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily lose overall fitness, but you WILL lose specific fitness. eg. If you’re a swimmer and you’ve just busted your shoulder and can’t swim for 6 months, your 100m freestyle time is going to be slower when you get back in the pool.
Not exercising does not = weight gain.
The only way you will ever put on weight is consuming more energy than you are expending!
2. Look for the positives:
Yes there is a positive in all of this… somewhere.
I’m not saying that the positives will outweigh the negatives, I’m just saying there is a positive and it’s your job to find it.
Here’s my thoughts:
- Being “healthy” encompasses a broad range of factors from fitness to relationships to finances to community involvement to education to nutrition… etc.
- Ideally these all should be equally balanced with our time and attention.
- More often than not this isn’t the case. Usually something is getting neglected because you’re too busy focusing your attention on something else.
Not now though… because you’re injured… and you’ve just freed up some of your time to dedicate to whatever it is that you’ve been neglecting (see, I’ve just found a positive there for you already).
The first thing I like to do is make sure my nutrition is 100%. Then, depending on what my injury is, I’ll usually focus on some flexibility goals eg. to do the splits or work goals eg. write a blog post on injuries.
It’s now time to move on to probably the most important step of this whole process…
3. Take action:
If you want to move forward, and more specifically, in the right direction, you need to know exactly what injury you have sustained so you can treat accordingly.
Get a diagnosis ASAP!
Time to settle in for story time….
- About 2 years ago I was getting pain in my shoulder so I went to the physio who treated it for 4 sessions (about $70 with private health insurance)
- Physio said it was most probably bursitis and I could get an MRI to find out exactly what was going on (about $200 out of pocket) or I could get a cortisone shot and that should help (about $80 out of pocket).
- I opted for the cortisone shot.
- A few months later it’s no better so I get another cortisone shot (another $80 out of pocket).
- This didn’t help either (I actually feel like an idiot telling this story).
- Change physios (hindsight is a wonderful thing) and the new guy tells me it’s most probably bursitis and I could get an MRI to find out exactly what’s going on or treat it for a couple of weeks and see if that makes a difference.
- Evidently I am a slow learner so I chose option 2.
- This made no difference and cost me another probably $70.
- Physio then refers me to a sports doctor who says GET AN MRI!!!
- I get the MRI and it shows that I have a torn bicep tendon and no amount of physio to my shoulder is going to fix that 🙁
- Then I get a cortisone shot from behind my shoulder and right into the spot where the tear is located, and ….. BOOM within 2 days it’s feeling 80% better!
Not only did I end up spending more money in the long run,
I lost something even more valuable: time.
If you love training and you’re missing out due to undiagnosed injuries, learn from my stupidity and start the process of figuring out EXACTLY what is going on now!
The other very important part of the “TAKE ACTION” phase is to:
Stop doing whatever is making it worse!
I’ll put my hand up here and admit I’m usually guilty of this one, but as a Dr once said to me: “It’s like putting your hand on a hotplate and taking a Panadol for the pain”.
You need to treat what’s causing the symptoms and not just the symptoms themselves.
4. Adapt and overcome:
And now we get to the “HOW” of not letting our injuries get us down.
- Do your rehab – no matter how mind numbing it is. That is what’s going to get you better, quicker.
- Write out new goals – what areas of your fitness have you been neglecting? What’s something you’ve always want to try but never had enough time to do? What’s been on your “to do” list for as long as you can remember but you’ve still done nothing about?
- Keep reminding yourself of what you CAN do, rather than what you currently can’t do.
- Seek inspiration from others in a similar situation to you who have made progress. What treatments / activities / goals are working for them?
- Take active steps to ensure this won’t develop into a recurring injury – listen to your trusted medical professional on this one.
And just one final thought before you race off to seize the day….
This is YOUR injury and it’s YOUR responsibility to do something about it.
Injuries are just opportunities in disguise 🙂