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April 23, 2015

Can injuries really be fixed? 4 steps to a better understanding.

The other day, I started thinking about this concept of “fixing” ourselves. It seems sometimes that injuries and pain are something we see as a part of us that is “broken” that can therefore be “fixed.”

“Can you fix this?” A patient will ask.

“Absolutely,” I’ll say. I mean this from the bottom of my heart and with the sole purpose to help this person get out of pain. But if I’m really honest, it actually isn’t fair to say because it’s not my body to heal, and there isn’t anything to fix. I also think that this concept of “fixing” what is “broken” is, well, a little harsh.

In reality, our lives and our bodies are both about management and we all have something we are managing. Our relationship with our body is the same as any other relationship. It takes focused attention and an ability to not only listen, but to understand what our body is telling us that it needs. We often think of our body as something outside of ourselves but in reality, it IS us. This shift in perspective is powerful and is step one in learning how to love your body in a way that you love other people: with respect, understanding, and kindness.

If you want to learn how to better treat your injuries, it starts with respecting and understanding your body for what it is. It’s you.

Here’s the short list:

1.  Take a breath and refocus.  Look at your injury and really begin to understand it. You may need to seek out medical care and the important aspects in any musculoskeletal evaluation are palliative and provocative factors.

  1. What makes the pain better?
  2. What makes the pain worse?
  3. What can you do and what do you need to avoid?

By taking a deeper look you will begin to listen to your body, and by talking with a health care professional, you’ll be able to understand what the symptoms mean. Education is empowering and you’ll find that you are able to make better decisions about your body and your health

2.  Be kind to your body. This may take a few different forms.

  1. Seek help and advice when needed. Call your doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor or other trusted health care provider.
  2. Rest and heal if it is necessary. Resting is taking off the load by temporarily removing the aggravating activity from your life. Healing is a much more complex concept and includes proper nutrition, treatment (home or professional), exercises, and rest.

3.  Don’t be a jerk to your body.

  1. Don’t “push through” the injury. You’re probably not a professional athlete and the cost/benefit analysis of causing more harm by constantly re-injuring yourself will not include a multimillion-dollar contract. Don’t do it.
  2. Do something, not nothing. The opposite of pounding on an injury can be just as costly. Seek help if you don’t improve with some time off as it may be something more serious.
  3. Use medication as it is intended. A physician or pharmacist, even if it is over-the-counter, should always approve regular use of medication for an extended period of time.

Read, listen, learn, question. There is some great information out there and some really bad information out there. Your responsibility is to question it all. My goal with PreTrain is to provide an open environment where the information is conservative when necessary and a little more assertive when appropriate.   Ultimately, your body is only going to be as strong, stable, and flexible as you allow it to be.

overuse injuries, foam rolling, post partum, women's health

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