By Paige Hewetson.
Have you ever injured yourself either during training or outside of training and had to endure a long road to recovery? During that time did you find yourself struggling mentally to cope with not being able to train at full capacity?
I’ve recently found myself on the come back from an injury. I partially dislocated my knee playing Oztag, and due to my Scoliosis, threw my upper back out in the process.
I was hoping for a 2 week recovery but this gradually turned into 8 weeks. During that time anything which involved high impact pressure on my legs or movement of my right arm, upper back or shoulder caused excruciating pain. I was restricted to very light body weight exercises to allow my body time to heal and to prevent muscle loss .
Aside from the physical pain I was dealing with, the biggest predisposition was the effect it had on my mental health. Going from training sometimes 2 times a day at high intensity, to low intensity and with restricted movement, sent me into a period of low moods, low energy and low motivation. Rather than accepting my body’s current state of existence, I found myself caught in resistance and frustration.
I realised through my injury that creating stress around the situation and beating myself up over it was only impacting my health negatively. As the weeks went on I let go of my resistance and started focusing on the ways I could build myself back up progressively.
There are some important factors which helped me stay focused and allowed me to make my “come back better than the set back.”
- Acceptance– whenever we go into anything with resistance we are met with the same force of resistance. As much as you may not agree with a situation and it may not be ideal, the longer we take to accept it, the longer it takes to overcome and move beyond.
- Be patient– recovering from an injury isn’t going to happen over night. You have to remember that you have imposed some form of trauma onto your body. Healing from trauma takes time, it also requires a willingness to sit with the pain and injury that comes with that trauma.
- Keep moving, but keep it light– I found this the hardest. I almost immediately convinced myself that I couldn’t do ANY form of exercise while my mindset focused on resistance and frustration. By going for walks every day and committing myself to my prescribed physio exercises I was able to stop feeling sorry for myself. I found that movement, as little and light as it was, kept me sane.
- Rest and listen to your Body– be sure to allow your body the adequate time it needs to recover. Everybody is different so only you will know what is right for you. Check in with your body by paying attention to any pain and fatigue that is beyond your regular thresholds.
- Support Networks and Environments– the people surrounding us and the environments we place ourselves in play such an important role in the recovery process. On days when you are unable to support and nurture yourself, having people who will hold you through those times reminds you not to be so hard on yourself.
Our team member Marion has also had her own experience with recovering from an injury last year and this is a summary of her experience.
“In May 2015 I had a horse riding accident which resulted in 3 bulging disks in my spine, this affected the nerves in my right shoulder, and for 6 months I was unable to lift my arm. My injury impacted not only my training but also my mood and my focus at work, as I felt useless and unhappy.”
Injury can happen to anyone and at any time. Correct technique, form and execution will help to prevent injury, but it is something that is likely to affect us all at some point and in some way.
What is most important is not just recovering from your injury, but your mindset during that time which will determine how you come back, and how long it will take.
If you have an injury and require some rehabilitation advise, contact Tim Wright Physio who are located within the gym.