Managing injuries is a multifaceted. At times it’s not just a physical hurdle to overcome it’s also a mental barrier which halts our progress and can easily derail us for longer than it needs to. It’s important to understand this when looking at the rehab process. In this little blog post I’m going to hopefully give you a few tools to help in the process.
Last April, I had a pretty decent stack while skateboarding, straight away I knew I had done something. I managed to break my distal radius, shatter my scaphoid and do a far bit of damage to my scapho-lunate ligament. You don’t really need the jargon – I broke my wrist, pretty bad!
Mindset is everything
I like to think I’m a positive guy, I generally see the good in most things. I was naturally motivated to rehab my wrist and rehab it well, it was like a challenge to me. I love that shit. At the end of the day my injury is only a blip on the radar, it was only a wrist. But, if my outlook was more in the “why me?” approach I could see my rehab outcome being much less positive. It’s hard work convincing someone not to have a negative outlook on things, sort of like telling someone with depression to “be happy”, it just isn’t that simple. I’m far from a psychologist, so the only piece of advice I can give in this regard is “be proactive”. You don’t have to like it, you can curse the world all you like, but if the “why me” overrides the “let’s fucking do this” you are going to be up against it.
Focus on what you can do – do it well
This is a huge one. Most of the time there are plenty of things we can do when we are injured. Use your imagination, try new approaches and find something that works. For me, it was air bike and safety bar squats. When your injured it’s easy to just cruise and do everything half-assed, but you don’t have to. You can absolutely train with the same intensity even though your injured. In fact, I actually hit all time PB’s with the Safety Bar Squats all the while most of my training was done only using one handle. Again, it’s a bit of a mindset thing – the rest of your body doesn’t get a holiday because you’re rehabbing an injury. Find what you can do (safely of course) and get stuck into it. These mini-wins are great for keeping your motivation up as well.
Early Mobilisation is vital
Unless you are told otherwise or still in significant pain – get that thing moving. If your injury is immobilised for any period of time you will need to work hard to get that range of motion back. This should be the initial focus post injury, you do not want to end up with limited range. Reduced range of motion can greatly affect your functional ability moving forward. That brings me to the next point.
Get Professional Help
I was lucky enough to get a great surgeon who obviously did
1a good job at fixing my wrist. I mean, he should though right? After that, I saw a Hand Therapist every couple of weeks for check-ups, new wrist specific exercises and most importantly, to keep me accountable. This is a serious game changer; these sorts of professionals have experience dealing with injuries and together you can develop a plan of action to move things forward. In my case, it was range of motion and wrist function, even though I’m an Exercise Physiologist I wouldn’t have had such a positive outcome without the help of my Hand therapist. So, don’t be too proud to get help!
Set backs will happen – embrace them
It’s important to understand that set backs can and will most likely happen. Set backs can be just as much mental as physical. To me, mental set-backs are those times when you get frustrated, start doubting the process etc. It’s important to identify these times in an effort to remain positive. Physical set backs like the initial injury can be really demoralising, again it’s all about embracing them, knowing that they are part of the typical rehab process and simply getting on with the job.
Don’t lean on it.
I don’t mean actually lean on it. I’m talking about those people who get stuck in a mindset that they can’t do certain things because they have a past injury that is easily under their control. Normally it’s a case of not rehabbing the injury in the first place, so it’s hung around and become part of that person. I understand physical limitations, but to me this is really a mental thing. You might not be as broken as you think.
At the end of the day each and every injury is a little bit different, it’s hard to say that simply being proactive and following these steps will bring about a positive outcome. But, it will definitely give you the best opportunity to limit future restriction, dysfunction and the mental barriers which come about due to injury. If you reading this and your currently in the rehab
process, here’s some words for you; fucking rip in!