As a Physiotherapist and Rehabilitation specialist I have certainly realised how important your attitude and emotional response is towards an injury in the recovery process. At the end of last week I suffered a painful ‘Pelvic Slip’ and Sacral Iliac Joint injury playing a sport I love Basketball. Other than the physical pain, the immediate natural emotional response appears to always include anger, frustration and certainly fear of its severity and how it will effect your life in the days/weeks to come. Being a Physio definitely allows me to quieten some of these racing thoughts down but it is actually from my experiences with meditation that I am able to so quickly transform/transmute these emotions into an attitude of gratitude. Now you might step in here and say ‘come on Scott stop giving Jp Sears more ideas for videos with your ‘ultra spiritual ways’ but please allow me to explain further.
Being able to separate your physical pain and the emotional response to an injury is certainly a skill that is worth acquiring. Learning to do this can help shift your perspective of the negative emotional response to a positive one that in turn seems to soften the severity of the pain initially and throughout the rehabilitation process. Two examples that quickly come to mind of when you experience physical pain with a positive emotional attachment is getting a tattoo and child birth. If there wasn’t a desired outcome at the end I am sure less people would choose to go through either of these experiences!!
My new mindset with injury is trying to quickly see opportunity within it. Firstly it presents a new challenge to overcome, it allows me to slow things down with life events and bring my full attention back to my body. It serves as a great reminder the importance of weekly body maintenance such as keeping up a regular Pilates practice and a Yoga / stretching routine along with regular sports massage and taking at least a hour each week for self treatment and trigger point release therapy. In fact whilst doing hours of trigger point therapy (TPT) work over the weekend I found it delightful to get familiar and re-learn where I hold the tension within my body. I even came up with a new quote based from a teacher Songyal Rinpoche who said ‘meditation is bringing the mind home’. If that is true then I say ‘Self TPT is bringing the body home’ as it is truly an experience of being 100% present in your body.
Getting injured allows me to have deeper empathy for others I treat, in this case mostly pregnant woman because SIJ instability is their thang… lol. I also become more efficient at treating the injury by finding out first hand what worked and what didn’t. There are so many practitioners on the internet claiming ‘this and that’ with SIJ treatment but the bottom line is ‘one size never fits all’ and each injury will be unique to that person. Finally it is an opportunity to be grateful for being alive knowing that I will make a full recovery and then appreciate full health and the amazing activities I can do even more. I often will reflect on people that were close to me and no longer living that don’t even have the chance to experience an injury and also those who had to experience permeant disability from injury.
This brought me to think about an old running competitor and friend of mine Paul Crake who experienced a cycling injury from an accident 10 years ago to the month. During the years of his athletic career he had been a cross-country, mountain and stair runner and elite level Pro Cyclist. Paul boasts the best times for running up tall buildings all over the world and still holds the world record for running to the top of the Empire State Building – 1,860 stairs!! He is the only man to run to the top of that famous building in less than 10 minutes… now he’s paralysed from the sternum down and was forced to rebuild his life confined to a wheelchair.
I found this recent interview with Paul and was inspired and happy to see how he has rebuilt his life and is moving forwards with such a positive outlook.
Trust me this kind of injury could not have hit harder emotionally to any person I know because Paul was a pure athlete, sport was his life… When we were at the Australian Institute of Sport running together he had one of the best physiological results (VO2 Max) of any athlete ever tested so to be told he can no longer walk would have been complete emotional devastation. When you have the time watch the interview as it is truly inspiring and might help you shift to the ‘The Attitude of Gratitude’ next time you get injured at work or play. I will finish here with Paul’s own words ‘never take things for granted…appreciate the moment (in health)… because just like that things can change in one moment’