By Lynsey Fraser
Health and Fitness Professional/Personal Trainer
Things I learnt from my horrible back injury
On the 16th of May, 2015 I herniated a disc in my back (between L4 and L5 with a right side bulge to be precise) – sadly this aggravated an already bulging disc below (L5 and S1 with a left side bulge) and I began to have issues with the nerves and function of my left leg and a host of knock on issues because of this. Put simply, out I went from training hard to not being able to tie my shoes in the space of a few hours. Twenty weeks of Physio later and I was finally on the mend.
Okay, I’d be lying if I said that the rehab was fun but they have been life-enriching experiences in an odd way. I have learnt quite a bit by being injured so I thought I’d share it with you:
10 things I learnt;
- Your body knows better than you do – listen to it. I had all the warning signs things were going to go wrong but kept pushing my training anyway. If your body is starting to scream at you – listen to it.
- We take simple thing for granted every day – when you have something taken away from you – you will appreciate how much it actually meant to you.
- Celebrate progress, don’t just get consumed by the goal – even the smallest steps ( literally ) in the right direction are worth celebrating. Not only will this make you happier along the way but will help you appreciate the whole journey.
- You are not your sport or physical fitness. Being a health and wellness expert and working in the Fitness Industry I felt like I lost some of my identity when I became physically incapable of doing simple things. I felt like a fraud as I couldn’t run or lift weights yet would write up programs and workouts for others but this is just not true. You are not your physical capacity or current situation – your are defined by the actions you take and your attitude to it.
- Accept your current situation. It’s time to leave the ego at the door and accept that things can change beyond our control – being angry, fighting it or blaming is not going to move you forward. Acceptance is.
- Do your homework. If you get given any after care or exercises for an injury by your doctor or Physio – do them, make them your priority – you are responsible for your own recovery. I have spoken to too many clients in the past that would say “The Physio told me I should do these but I keep forgetting”
- Be prepared for set backs and delays. Sometimes as one thing gets better another thing breaks but as long as your still crawling forward your still going in the right direction. Be patient and keep going.
- Divert your energy. If you cannot physically expend energy then find a way to do this mentally. Sign up for a new course, read books, write or study. Find a project that will enrich your life and allow you to channel your excess energy into something productive.
- Learn and keep learning. Learn everything you can about your injury or condition and learn what works best for you. Understand the things that make you better and the things you can change each day for your own improvement – following the advice from your health care provider of course. I have found standing at work and wearing cushioning running shoes have both help massively.
- Find something about the situation to be thankful for – this may seem hard at the time but maybe it will make you realise how awesome your friends are or how much you love to read or maybe you will write informative and inspirational blog posts about your experience and share your new found wisdom with the world.
In do believe – if it doesn’t kill you it will make you stronger – just not always in the way you imagine.