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How to Deal With an Injury Without Going Crazy (guest post).

Wed, May 11, 2011

Exercise, Guest Posts

 

I think it was Jane Austen who said, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an exercise enthusiast in possession of good health must eventually injure himself.” Or something like that.

 

The point is, we all get injured. Our doctors or surgeons or physical therapists work hard to fix our bodies, but during the In Between you’re all alone.

 

To mope.

 

To eat five pints of ice cream because everyone else went to the gym and you’re stuck on the couch and, really, you deserve it after that injury.

 

To secretly hate bloggers who are running marathons that YOU SHOULD BE RUNNING.

 

You should know this is normal. (So is declaring one of the following: “My life is over!” or “Go on without me! I’ll never make it with this torn ligament” or “Plantar fasciitis is ruining my life!”)

 

I’m pretty sure you want to avoid sitting on the couch and weeping atThe Last Song for the rest of your life, so here are some tips for recovering from an injury without going insane.

 

1.      Do what exercise you can.You can’t move your left leg because of that totally annoying cast. So skip cardio and lower-body exercises and work your arms. You probably don’t want to hear this, but you can do ab work, too. Or if you’ve injured your arm or chest or whatnot, strength train your legs.

 

2.      You can always stretch. I mean, it’s not a hard-core workout, but when you can’t do anything else it’ll at least keep you limber. Besides, plenty of injuries use stretching in the recovery process. (You are doing your physical therapy stretches at home, right?)

 

3.      Resist the temptation to gorge on junk. I’ll admit, when you’re injured and A. pissed off about it or B. completely depressed, chocolate and cupcakes and gooey nachos start looking really good. Go ahead and give in after you get the bad news. I mean, you deserve it at least once. But after that, try to get plenty of fruits and veggies, which may aid your body in recovery.

 

4.      Rent a few comedies. So you’re couch bound. Make the most of it by watching movies that will take your mind off of the injury. If you’re badly injured and sidelined for a while, rent a TV series to work through. (May I suggest Lost?) It’ll distract you from the hopelessness or frustration you might be feeling.

 

5.      Be realistic. If you aim to be back to normal in a week, you’re going to be sorely disappointed when it takes three or four. Here’s the thing guys: Every body heals differently. Don’t measure your progress based on how long other people took to recover. Your physical therapist or doctor should be able to tell you how long your recovery might take.

 

6. Stop torturing yourself. Now that your dream of running in this month’s marathon has been ripped to shreds (kind of like your tendon), you’re seeing marathon news everywhere. It seems like EVERY BLOGGER ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH is running a marathon. Everyone but you, of course. Listen, watching others live your dream while you’re stuck doing leg raises in physical therapy can make the crazy even crazier. If reading certain blogs or websites or magazines make you depressed or angry, just stop. They’ll be there when you’re better.

 

For those of you dealing with a chronic injury, I have three tips:

1.      Keep hope.

2.      Don’t bottle your frustrations, anger, resentment, or fear.

3.      If you eat chocolate and nobody’s looking, it doesn’t count.

 

Oh, and if you’ve never had an injury, imagine me sticking my tongue out at you. I mean that in the nicest, sweetest way possible.

 

Tracey from I’m (not) Superhumanhas had chronic knee pain for 6 years and was recently diagnosed with a pain disorder that makes walking difficult. She blogs about health, chronic pain and, on special occasions, James Franco.

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20 Responses to “How to Deal With an Injury Without Going Crazy (guest post).”

  1. Sheri says:

    What a great post! I have come from chronic pain and understand the frustrations and depression that comes with it. Now that I am a exerciser and love it I would struggle big time if my disease showed up its ugly head again.

  2. J says:

    The chronic injury tips are good. I’m trying - but it is so so so hard. I’m finding myself unable to even read certain blogs that I used to love anymore. Things …they just suck. And no amount of affirmations of hope seem to fix it.

  3. Jody - Fit at 53 says:

    LOVE! I am 53 & have been injury free for the most part of my exercise life with a few things here & there.. but this age stuff - OMG! Now I have feet issues which change your gait which hurt the hips & so on… well, like you said, I have had to work around it, find things that work, change my food & whatever it takes not to freak out - it is hard but working it!

    THX!

  4. Caveman Home Companion says:

    Great advice! Last year I had plantar fasciitis and I thought I’d never get over it.
    I have one question though, is it true that if you eat chocolate while nobodys looking it doesn’t count? That’s VERY good to know!

  5. Sabrina says:

    Great post and just what I needed to hear. I am out with an injury, but I am supposed to run 5k in 3 weeks. I AM going Crazy!!

  6. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman says:

    Thank you for having me, Miz!!

  7. Shelley B says:

    OH I LOVE THIS POST!!!!!

  8. Yum Yucky says:

    I had a rotator cuff injury that totally messed up my training awhile back. I lost all my push ups progress back then. Only time and patience was the healing salve. Your point #1 was really big with me and still is. “Doing what I can” means I can ALWAYS be doing something.

  9. juliejulie says:

    Great post! I used to be an all or nothing exerciser, and when I’d get hurt in my “all” stage I’d have a really hard time letting it rest. Then I’d mope and do nothing for far to long, then start the all again. So much angst! I’ve finally learned that waiting for an injury to heal is not being lazy, and to just calm down and wait it out.

  10. Coco says:

    Great post! I’ve been through too many injuries over the past few years and “doing what I can” really has saved my sanity-and helped my recovery, I’m sure.

  11. charlotte says:

    I love the “stop torturing yourself” tip - as soon as I’m sidelined it DOES feel like every other person on the planet is blogging about their Best. Race. Ever. Thankfully I haven’t had any injuries in a couple of years (knock on wood) but I well remember how disheartening they can be!

  12. Katie @ peacebeme says:

    Tracey, you are my favorite blogger. :)
    I loved all of your tips. I have a chronic condition that limits my ability to exercise. I especially like Tip number 1. I would add to that…”Do what exercise you can…and let it be okay.” For me, this means not comparing myself to what it used to be able to do. I swim for 20 min. five days a week and walk for a collective 20 min. or more everyday. Reflecting on this, it’s not half bad. I can’t run 5 miles every day anymore, but I’m still exercising!

    I am also trying my best to keep hope, though that is hard some days.

    I also really recommend getting into a TV show. I have always been one that is always moving, but when I get sucked to a TV show, I am finally able to relax mind and body.

  13. Terry says:

    It is unfortunate when an accident or something of that nature occurs and the body is injured. I have had a few injuries myself and sometimes I had questions and I had to call a doctor in order to get reliable and useful information.

  14. Annelies says:

    Tracey’s uplifting spirit and tone is refreshing. I was just commenting to a family member the other day that circumstances will come at us in life out of our control; what is in our control is how we react to them.

    Thanks Tracey! I am in month 5 of PT and still monitoring how much I walk from injuring myself on vacation. Too much sand-walking makes Annelies’ hip not feel so hot. Go figure. :)

  15. I had abdominal surgery last year. It was a real bummer because I was out of the gym for 1 1/2 months and really couldn’t do much of anything, since stretches of any sort hurt me. I couldn’t even wear blue jeans for the whole time because the jean button hurt me. So it was stretchy gym pants most of the time.

    Anyway, of course I got out of shape. But I did try to spend some time every day mentally working on my fitness by reading up on fitness techniques, to keep my head in the game.

    And, when I got back to the gym, my gym buddies greeted me with hugs and also said, “At least you know how to get back to where you want to be.” So true. Injuries and surgery happen to everybody, sooner or later, but we know how to get back in shape.

  16. Lazy Personal Trainer says:

    So well-said (written). All of it perfect advice. I am just starting to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel on my first serious bout of chronic neck pain. Like you advise, I tried to do just even small things so I could “overcome lazy” as best I could. Now I am committed to keep doing the right things to make sure I never have to deal with it on this level ever again!

  17. D... says:

    It was so good to come across this post! Some great hints, I’ve been seriously wallowing. I’ve a truck load of weight to lose, Orthotics eased chronic plantar fasciitis then threw my knee which hurts all the time, I feel great after visiting the osteo but yes in between I feel like I’ve been jibbed, I finally started getting together an exercise routine and my body has failed me. I’m trying to pull away from feelings of despondency but it’s really hard, I’ll put some of these hints into plan, thanks, really!

  18. Hannah says:

    I am so glad I found this and it could not have come at a better time! I have been recovering from multiple chronic “injuries” for over a year. I still read blogs about marathons, new workouts, etc, and it’s a killer to my self-esteem, but I know I need to stop. That’s the hard part.

  19. Katie says:

    Oh this was too perfect!!! I’m sidelined right now from achilles tendinosis and it is KILLING me. I did make the mistake of expecting to be back in a week, but its been two and I still can’t even wear shoes without pain. I NEED to RUN!!!! Also running stuff is everywhere, people are posting about their workouts on Facebook, targeted ads on Facebook are all about running, and I can’t stay away from RunnersWorld.com. Not to mention the e-mails from my coach which are driving me to want to run even more. I’ve been stationary biking for 45 min (which is the max I’m allowed to do) most days and on the others I’ve been doing around 20-30 min because my athletic trainers told me not to do the max every day. I secretly do the max more than I’m supposed to though, which maybe I should stop. I also do some strength that doesn’t aggravate my Achilles, but I feel so lazy. It doesn’t work me out and make me feel like a good and hard hour + run does. I’ve been good on eating though I’ve been sticking to healthy dinners, cereal, oatmeal, fruits, and salads. Sorry I’m rambling up your blog I’m just that bored…lol I really do NEED to RUN!!!!!!!

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