If you’ve got a dedicated exercise practice, you’re likely to confront a sports related injury. Tweaked muscles and imbalances in the body may not even be felt for months. It‘s only when pain rears its ugly head we become aware that something’s wrong.
It’s hard to make lemonade out of lemons when you’re aching and not able to do as much as usual, but they do say that pain is a great teacher (F%$k “they,” you may be thinking). We’re all aware of the negative side of injuries. Let’s see what they can teach us, becoming experts in our bodies and better athletes in the process:
1) Back off. Even though it may seem like the best thing to do is go for the gold, you don’t always have to compete with yourself. If you could bench a certain amount or do the splits on Monday, it doesn’t mean that you have to, or should, on Wednesday. We don’t get better every single day, and going back a few steps doesn’t mean you’re moving away from progress. Put your ego on a leash.
2) No pain, yes gain. While you’ re healing, do what makes your body feel more alive. Every time movement flares the pain, ask yourself why. Were you expecting too much of your body at this time? Does the pain always come when you’re doing a particular motion (such as forward bending)? Your alignment may have been off for years. Once you’re feeling better, get a qualified personal trainer or yoga instructor to evaluate you.
3) Get a PhD in your injury. Is your back your weak area? Study anatomy and back exercises. If your health plan covers it, visit everyone you can think of: chiropractors, massage therapists and naturopathic doctors. Get many opinions. Read books. Do what you can to prevent this from happening again. When you meet someone who has a similar injury down the road, not only will you be able to be more compassionate, you’ll also be able to give them tips.
Life’s only constant is change and this injury may remind you that as your body changes or encounters difficulty, you can maintain an unshakeable spirit. You’ll often feel like yourself sooner if you treat yourself with kindness during this healing time.