Unfortunately, injuries happen to just about every one eventually. Whether your injury is a result of a trip and fall, sports, overuse, or other accident, you are likely to have to cope with it and learn to be patient as the healing process completes.
Fortunately, not all injuries result in surgery. However, in the cases that do, we will often work with clients in their post-rehabilitative phase of recovery once they have been through surgery and physical therapy, and sometimes concurrently with physical therapy.
This week however, I wanted to address allowing injuries to fully heal and the patience that it requires to do so, whether you have been through surgery or not. Often, clients, particularly post-surgery, will attempt to progress before their bodies are ready and this may lead to re-injuring the affected area or simply to slowing the healing process.
If you are in the injury-boat, and you are losing patience, do not despair. It is the exception, rather than the rule, when an injury cannot be rehabilitated and it is also the exception when a client with an injury cannot eventually return to their exercise program. And, while a few modifications may have to be created, remember that you have an entire body to work with so focus upon what you can do, not on what you cannot.
Below are a few “be patient” strategies to consider and as always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Be Patient Strategy 1: Follow the rehabilitation program to the letter. In other words, be 100 percent compliant. It is almost without exception that a client who does not heal well has not followed the rehabilitation protocols that the surgeon and physical therapist have prescribed. Therefore, be patient and let the rehabilitation process take its course.
Be Patient Strategy 2: Do your homework! This is part of the rehabilitation process and the better you perform your in-home therapy, the better you will perform during your rehab sessions leading to better outcomes.
Be Patient Strategy 3: Do what you CAN do! If you are able to do so, connect your physical therapist (i.e. PT) and your qualified/certified personal trainer together so that the PT may provide direction to the trainer when designing your exercise program for this purpose. As trainers, with the PT’s guidance, we may address the areas of the body that are healthy while the PT concentrates on rehabilitating the injured area.
Be Patient Strategy 4: Use your common sense! So many times, an impatient client will attempt to perform a skill or drill that they know is contraindicated during recovery and I must say this is disconcerting. After all of the pain and discomfort of the procedure, doesn’t it make sense to only perform what is prescribed until the injured area has healed enough to proceed further? Is this not what you would advise others to do?
Be Patient Strategy 5: Injuries impact the body AND the mind. Consequently, allow the mind to heal as the body heals. When an injury occurs, the mind encourages the body to avoid pain—one of the most challenging aspects of rehabilitation. Therefore, an integral part of the healing process is training the body and mind to work together again.