Monday, April 25, 2016

When it hurts

Injuries happen.  Sometimes they occur suddenly and obviously, like in a skiing accident or an incident with a banana peel.  Other times, they are the result of the slow accumulation of small insults, too much chair time, a bad relationship with the laptop keyboard, a stroller handle that is too low.  Whatever the cause, healing is a process full of obstacles.  While I intend to discuss some of them and some ideas for how to deal with them, I am not a doctor.  There is no substitute for good medical advice.  We all need to seek it as necessary.

First, there is pain.  Pain in one part of the body tends to creep into other parts because we try to protect the injured part by shifting the burden to other muscles.  I believe in Advil for those who have no allergies or other reasons not to take it.  Then there are the trainer stand-bys:  rest, ice, compression, and elevation.  Deep breathing and other relaxation techniques can also help.

Then there is stress.  For many people, working out is a major stress management tool.  Injury can interrupt that and cause havoc.  If there are ways to keep working out that do not endanger the recovery of the injured part, we can choose those; we can focus on cardio if heavy lifting is out, or biking if our knees aren’t ready for running, or the like.  If we have no other options, we can exercise our patience, focus on meditative practices, and perform our physical therapy and/or corrective exercises faithfully.

In any case, it is crucial to give the body the time it needs to heal.  Otherwise, we are just asking to spend more time injured and upset.

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