Overcoming an Exercise Injury
This is an issue that has caused me the most problems with my workout plans. I never really lack the energy or desire to get to the gym. 9 times out of 10 I will somehow figure out how to work around a schedule change or travel. Injury, however, is a whole other ball of wax as the saying goes. I have had to scratch workouts, take weeks off and really rethink everything I’ve been doing to be able to keep working out.
Odds are if you have worked out for any length of time or played a sport then you may have hurt yourself somehow. I injured my shoulder a few years ago and it turned into a chronic condition that flares up whenever I push too hard. When I went to see a doctor he advised me to start physical therapy and when that produced minimal results I had an MRI. The scan revealed that I have a calcium deposit on my right shoulder. I had been trying to diagnose myself on the internet and I was totally convinced I had a tear. Having a deposit was not even something that came up in my online research. My doctor advised against surgery and told me that patients often heal over time and we could revisit it if the pain worsened. He advised me to not do any exercise that involved overhead movement. So at least I had some answers, but I was still at a loss of what to do. I really enjoy lifting weights and yoga and both of these were out of the question – at least for a while. It’s been a struggle for sure and sometimes you can do everything right and still experience pain or a flare up. Below are some of my best suggestions for dealing with and overcoming an exercise related injury or set back.
- Modify, modify, modify. I simply cannot do a lot of different exercises because they will aggravate my shoulder. Never look at a workout and feel you have to complete all of the steps because you are following it to a “T”. Know your body and change any steps you feel you need to. I did take a few months off from yoga but then discovered a Yoga Basics class at my gym I enjoy. It’s not very challenging, but I like it for what it is and keeps yoga as part of my routine. I view it more as relaxation and stretching which is always beneficial.
- Seek out professional advice. Find a doctor you trust and even a whole team of professionals if you feel you need it. I no longer see my medical doctor on a regular basis, but I do see a chiropractor weekly. If you do feel you need a personal trainer make sure to interview them and be sure they understand your particular injury? Just like anything else there are trainers who will be better suited to work with you than others. Do not sign up with anyone who wants to “crush you” or push you to the max. You will only hurt yourself more.
- Stay positive. When we are down and out it is very hard to not get discouraged. We all feel it and typically that is when we need to stay the most upbeat. Focus on the exercise you can do and simply be proud of yourself for going to the gym. For example, I focus on the benefits of the yoga class I go to vs. lamenting that I’m not attending the one I want. Keeping your spirits up is key.
Also…keep your diet clean. For some reason, I think when we cannot workout or get injured we feel as if we have been punished in some way. That whole I was being “so good” and going to the gym and look what happened attitude. This is a slippery slope to giving up eating well too. I always love to read before and after weight loss stories in fitness magazines, and I feel that a lot of them often have the theme of injury. I think I saw recently that a woman hurt her ankle one summer and couldn’t walk or swim so she took to the couch with Ben & Jerry and then everything spun out of control. There is a psychological connection between how we feel and how we treat ourselves. Healthy living leads to better living in general.
Question(s) of the day:
Have you ever had an exercise injury?
What is your best advice on how to deal with setbacks?