THE JOLT OF INJURY

Injuries can be disrupting to the flow of life, especially if you’re an active lifestyle enthusiast who uses movement to keep your body firm and tight and your mind calm and sane. The hard part about injuries may not necessarily be the actual physical injury, but your mindset in dealing with it.

The lifespan of an injury has a few interconnected phases. The first phase is the initial trauma, which is followed by an uncomfortable period before the final phase, which is the recovery phase. How you navigate through these phases of your injury will determine your success in integrating the injury in order to heal. Failure to integrate and care for the injury carefully will result in frustration and dysfunction due to predictable aggravations and exacerbations that come with miscaring for it.

This journey of healing requires patience, persistence and dancing with your ego. The ego is all about “wanting.” Sometimes our wants get in the way of the healing process. We want to do a certain activity so much that we keep doing it even if it is inflaming and re-injuring the area- a self-sabotaging cycle.

It is critical to understand the basic nature of injuries. There are certain causes of trauma or injury, which are physical, chemical, or emotional level that has disrupted the equilibrium of your bodymind constitution. This disruption in your constitution results in disorganization, leading to an overly sensitive nervous system. This produces rigid neuromuscular patterns that disrupts your performance and proprioception and sets the scene for an injury. It’s here at the level of the nervous system that injuries are born.

Becoming aware of the tone of your nervous system should be second nature. But unfortunately, due to a bewildering amount of outward stimulation we lose the ability to appropriately tune inward to our “state of flow and ease.” We don’t pay attention to the body signals alerting us that a departure from “flow and ease” is occurring. We enter into a state of strain and that’s when we get the jolt of injury. The injury is the WAKE UP siren since we have ignored the softer signals.

After the initial injury, comes the awkward uncomfortable phase which also includes the “I’m slowly starting to feel better” stage. This is the phase where many people struggle. They struggle with the fact that they’re starting to feel better and want to jump back to the same intensity of training they were doing when the injury happened. It is critical to be aware of the ego struggle at this point as failure to allow for a full healing and integration. Many people get stuck in this battle, and the battle is real. This is where you need to negotiate with your injury. You’re not going to avoid all activities all together, but you need to move intelligently to allow your injury to breathe, expand and contract at a free-flowing rate. Failure to do so will cause you to stay stuck in this awkward phase consuming your mind, stressing you out and draining your energy.

Playing the edge is the game. There is a zone where you can move freely with no dysfunction or pain, another zone where you can sense the buildup of tension, and then there is the zone where you get fully triggered. It makes sense to play in the first and second zones so your nervous system can remain in a non-triggered relaxed physiological state. Over time your functional movement will continue to expand deeper into the zone that was previously triggered… until your injury has been healed … integrated. Remember, we are not avoiding movement or dancing around the injury. We are in a mature relationship with the injury that needs to be in constant communication with it. We need stress in order for our body to adapt. We just have to make sure that the stress is respected and doesn’t de-volve to distress.

The recovery phase demands that your sole focus and responsibility to remember to scan, listen, and sense the signals your body is offering you. Pay attention and reclaim your power. Use your injuries as an opportunity to get your body reconnected, balanced and ready.

Dr. Jeremy Brook