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I’m Ready To Be Hurt Again: how to recover from your minor injuries and your break ups, too

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Uh oh! You’ve just tweaked your back again, and you can tell this one is gonna be a doozy. How are you gonna deal? What’s the best way to get back to pain-free living? Well, I’ve found recovering from your injuries is a lot like recovering from your break-ups. There’s a moment of pain, a period of challenging self-care, and a re-emergence as a stronger you.


So, if you have just injured yourself, or if that bad boy on a motorcycle just broke your heart, here is a step-by-step approach to getting back out there and living as your true, pain-free self. 


Step 1: Soothing Your Soul/Managing Your Pain.  


Okay, so immediately post injury or break up, you’re probably experiencing a lot of emotion and pain. You can’t do or think of anything else effectively, so in order to regain some function, your priority needs to be feeling better! That means grab some ice (cream) and a massage gun. If your other aspects of life are suffering, addressing your immediate symptoms will allow you to carry out the next steps more efficiently and with less suffering.  


Other modalities for physical recovery include, but are not limited to: chiropractic care, foam rolling, heat (hot tubs, showers, heating pads)..really anything that doesn’t require a lot of effort on your part.


For more emotional recovery, it is eating your favorite foods, listening to some sick jams, or watching the Hallmark channel for 9 hours. I won’t judge!


Now, because these are more passive aspects of your recovery, they should be your immediate, but short-term, solutions. Don’t get trapped! We’ve all had a friend (or been the person ourselves) that stayed in the passive recovery stage a little too long.  As soon as you can, you should start utilizing more active approaches to your recovery, which is step 2!


Step 2: Working on Yourself


This is the toughest part of the recovery process, but I have found it to be the most important. You’re still hurt, you're depressed, everything sucks, and the last thing you want to do is take care of yourself. But you need to convince yourself that this work now will pay off later. It always does!  


For a break up, this might look like showering, cooking yourself a healthy meal, or working out. For an injury, you’ll probably want to do some light movement/stretching, breathing drills, and even working out the non-injured parts of your body. If you can tolerate it. It’ll be uncomfortable, but you’ll feel immensely better upon completion.  


Remember to start small! If you end up feeling worse/more pain, you’ve gone too far and that’s perfectly okay! Not everything will be a linear progression. It’s okay to have to go back to the couch with a carton of mint chocolate chip, as long as you know it’s not the endgame. Be patient, graceful, and honest with yourself; it won’t help to do the opposite. 

Eventually, you’ll progress these “corrective” movements, and physically, you’ll feel as if nothing ever happened. However, after your injury and heart have fully healed, your brain still needs to be addressed, which brings us to step 3.


Step 3: Back in the Field


While your body might be physically ready to get back into the game, you may still have some hesitancy to get back to pre-injury shape. If your ex always took you to Red Lobster and listened to a lot of Weezer, you’d probably have at least an aversion to these things, if not a strong disdain. And that sucks because you LOVE those biscuits! And the Blue Album is a 10/10, zero skips. The same goes for injury. If you hurt yourself while deadlifting, you’ll probably be cautious and hesitant around deadlift day, even if you love deadlifting!  


This is a normal psychological response by the brain to keep you safe, but by slowly reintroducing “riskier” movements, honing in on your technique, and being mindful of recovery, you will gain the confidence needed to perform your “trigger” movements without hesitancy. You need to provide the brain enough positive/safe experiences of a stimulus to overwrite the negative/painful experiences.  


Here’s a note: you may never fully achieve step 3, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Would you be able to get a fine seafood dinner somewhere other than Red Lobster? Can you get some strong hamstrings and glutes without ever deadlifting again? The answer is a resounding yes!  Squats exist, and so does Real Seafood Co. However, I’d hate for you to miss out on something beautiful (like deadlifts and biscuits), just because you’re afraid of getting hurt.  


There you have it. That is the basic blueprint to recovering from your injuries and your relationship woes. The key here is being honest with yourself. Only you will know when you’re ready to move on, but don’t be afraid to pump the brakes or give yourself a little push here and there. Your pain is temporary. You will recover. And you will be even stronger and more resilient than ever before. We have to remember that pain is a part of life, and while we can’t 100% avoid painful moments, learning how to efficiently move past them creates more opportunity for life’s joys.


Thanks for reading, and see you soon!

Coach Austin

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