Have you ever wondered, “why did I have to get injured?”. It’s a natural question to ask, and then feel sorry for yourself. Injury forces you to slow down and review what is important. Injury is the body’s way of screaming for help and to begin a self-discovery with yourself to start the healing process.
Your Body Gives Signals
Injury is not as random as it appears. The mind-body connection is stronger than we are lead to believe. The body has a signalling system which gives us plenty of warning signs when body parts begin to go out of balance before an injury occurs.
For example, have you ever been on a long run, then 2 miles into it you begin to feel knee pain and you ignore it. As mile 3 approaches, the pain has subsided because the body has adapted and the endorphin high keeps you from feeling the pain causing you to miss the warning signal. The body did its job and sent out the signal, however you dismissed it. Our body sends signals in many forms like muscle tightness, tenderness, soreness, or pain. It is our responsibility to listen, understand and treat these early pre-injury signals.
Why We Don’t Listen To Signals
The “tradition” of giving doctors power to solve all our health issues is one of the major reasons we don’t hear the signals. We are programed to go to the doctor for everything. Doctors have a difficult time treating you if you go to see them during the pre-injury stages. Even in studies of communication with your doctor, there can be a break-down in understanding what is happening inside your body. First, you have to be able to understand what is happening in your body, then communicate it effectively to your doctor for them to accurately help you. If you don’t know yourself, then there exists a potential communication breakdown.
Medical Professionals Have a Place
Doctors are vital but only when a catastrophic health events occur such as a broken ankle, cancer, or surgery. If going to the doctor is your only option, that means your body has progressed to a critical point requiring medical help. Excluding these major events we have to be better listeners of what our bodies are saying to us. Allowing doctors to tell us what to do and how to feel about our injuries in not in our best interests. We have to change this mindset and take control back.
Post-workout Recovery Is Key
The way forward is to take charge of your own health through self-discovery of your body. What does that mean? It means cutting time out of your busy schedule to spend time fixing your body, and healing it when your body tells you it needs help.
Start by making the mind-body practice part of your daily fitness routine where the focus is to bring one’s full care and attention to every part of the body. After completing a physically exhausting activity, remember to include one of the most critical components – self-massage. It maybe referred to as prehab, warm-up, cool-down, self-care, or “maintenance”, depending on when you do it. One option, is to use your own hands for self-massage as described in Shape magazine’s article on Massage Techniques for Self Massage. The other better option is to use a product like the TP BuddieRx. It is anatomically designed like the elbow, palm and thumb to generate pressure and save your fingers from repeated pressing and rubbing.
Using it everyday, you will start to notice things such as how muscles are at different health points, and symmetry – notice the left vs right-side, the upper vs the lower-body muscles. Your muscles are in constant and dynamic states of motion so imbalance is highly probable. Not only are athletes prone to muscle misalignment from doing repetitive movements but those who work in offices can also get tight muscles from jobs not where there is hours of repetition of doing the same activity. Over time, this leads to pain if the tension is not relieved in the opposing side to neutralize the body system. Breathing as well as muscle activation while completing self-massage is the ticket to a deeper level of muscle health and longevity.
By adding this one habit to your regiment it will result in big changes over time. To see how small changes make a big difference, read the The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness by Jeff Olson. Incremental improvements and changes will allow you to enjoy more and remain a life-long athlete by taking active participation in your muscle recovery/healing process.
Do I Really Have To Do This?
If you have ever suffered an injury you know the physical, mental, and emotional pain it brings along with. Not being able to play the sport you love and the mental benefits it provided to you is a rude awakening during injury. Injury robs you from enjoying life. The time spent in recovering from injury is difficult. All the gains made, the many hours of time and effort dedicated to it will take a back-seat. Not to mention, the time and money spent on rehab, physical therapy, massage therapists, and chiropractic offices. As difficult as injury is, you can transform injury into an opportunity to reconnect and discover your body again. This small investment of daily self-discovery will impact the quality of your life for the better, and ensure you remain a life-long athlete.