I was carrying a basket of laundry down the stairs, slipped, and landed hard on my right side. The pain was immediate, radiating from my mid-back down to my right knee. After determining I wasn’t critically injured, my first thought was “Shit…The race I’ve been training for all winter and spring is out the window.” Mind you I was still on the floor at this point. In the position I’d landed, on my right side with laundry strewn around me.
I lied there and cried. I cried because of the physical pain and out of anger and frustration. How could someone who was so strong and fit fall doing something so stupidly mundane? How is this going to change my summer travel plans, work, and that bloody race I’ve spent months training for?
These are the words of a client. She came to me after getting an x-ray to help rule out any fractures. Over the next few weeks her back, hip, and leg pain fully recovered. She did have to scratch her entry from the trail race, she missed a few days of work because of the injury and her summer backpacking trip changed to a “lounge by the pool” type of vacation.
When life throws you the injury curveball, you also get a seat on an emotional rollercoaster. You have to work through feelings of frustration, disappointment, and even anger. You have to deal with your fitness levels decreasing and your short-term plans changing. It can be an incredibly difficult place to be in mentally. Often the emotional aspect of recovering is far more challenging than the physical aspect.
So, is there a secret to avoiding the emotional baggage that comes along with an injury?
Not to my knowledge. The intertwining of physical and emotional experience is part of what makes us human.
The road from injury to health can seem long and arduous. I often encourage clients to view their health and fitness levels over the course of their lifetime, not a few weeks or months. Meaning injuries can derail your short term plans and fitness levels, but you have life ahead of you! In two years from now, an injury will seem like a relatively minor blip on the radar.
You WILL be running, skiing, and traveling again. You WILL enter (and finish) another race. But first, you have to wade through the emotional muck that comes along with an injury. The emotional aspect is something that doesn’t get addressed enough and it’s the ugly truth about recovering from an injury.
If you have an injury and would like to know exactly what to do about it, click the link below to request a free discovery visit at Momentum Physical Therapy.
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