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Dealing with Injury

I have had my fair share of injuries in my 39 years on this planet.

Although I’m happy to say I’ve never broken a bone (which frankly shocks me given my propensity for falling down), but I have managed to injure myself on many occasions, from sprained ankles all the way to muscle pulls in my back.  My current back injury; however, is probably the worst injury I’ve had, the most pain I’ve ever been in, and taken the longest to bounce back from.

Last week I went out for breakfast with my parents.  My leg was particularly sore, and I was hobbling around with my cane in a pretty miserable mood; and when Victoria is in a mood, everyone is going to know about it (what can I say, I have a flair for the dramatic). I made a comment about being confined at home, unable to go very far because of my inability to walk and my father, being the very straight forward person that he is said “Feeling a little sorry for yourself are we?” It needed to be said, because over those past couple of weeks since I hurt my back I had really been down in the dumps.

Strategies for Dealing with Injuries

They say hindsight is 20/20, so I thought I’d share a few ideas for how to deal with being injured that I wish I’d know before I hurt myself.  Some things I’m doing now, some things I should have done right from the beginning.  But hey, we live and we learn!

Be sad, but don’t be sad for too long
Everyone is entitled to feel badly when they are hurt.  I certainly did.  I was in pain, barely able to move and I turned that into a sad, pity fest.  It was ok for a little while, but you know what? It didn’t make me feel better, in fact it made me feel worse, to the point where I was just disgruntled and sad about everything.  Not good.  You can be upset about your circumstances, just don’t let it take over your life.

Ask for help
When I first injured my back, I tried so hard to do things on my own, determined to not have to rely on anyone for help.  Yeah, that lasted for about 5 minutes.  One night I had dropped something on the floor, and tried desperately to find a way to get down to pick it up.  My brother walked over to where I was and said “you know, you could just ask for help”.  So, I did.  Turns out it’s not that hard and now I’m actually pretty good at it.  I even had to ask my brother to put my socks on for me last week…now that’s love!

Embrace alternatives
Since I had hurt my back a few times before, I started in quickly with the steps I normally take when I pull a muscle in my back—heat, ice, rest, anti-inflammatory pills—and after awhile it usually does the trick.  This time though, my tired and true remedies weren’t cutting it.  I bit the bullet and went to see my doctor who prescribed physiotherapy over massage therapy, much to my dismay.  Physiotherapy isn’t something I’ve been through before, but now that I have a few session under my belt, I’m glad I followed the doctor’s advice and went.  It’s going to help me in the long run and be preventative.  As it turns out, my physiotherapy includes a massage therapy component, as well as an acupuncture component—something I’ve also never tried before. Be open to trying things you’ve never done before that might help.  Acupuncture isn’t something I have ever been interested in or knew much about, but hey, it can’t hurt to try!!

Patience is a virtue
I am not a patient person.  Seriously, I want my back fixed and I want it fixed now.  But that is not happening, and it has been very frustrating for me.  Especially now that I’m doing physiotherapy, I want to see results fast, but that’s just not how it works.  This injury has been a big lesson in patience for me.  Being impatient about healing and the progress I’m making just stresses me out, so I’m trying hard to just go with the flow.  As much as healing is in my hands, there is a big part that is really out of my hands, and I just have to rely on my body to do its thing…at whatever pace it wants.

Overcoming injury certainly isn’t easy, but these lessons have certainly made it a bit easier for me.  Everyday I’m one step closer to healthy.

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Injury Update and Back to Blogging

Hi friends!  Sorry I’ve been such an absentee blogger lately, but truthfully other than lying around and  bellyaching over my back injury, I haven’t been doing very much.  If you’re just joining our program, allow me to catch you up.

At the end of July, through complete fault of my own, I managed to pull the muscles in my lower back.  While I was doing laundry one Sunday afternoon I reached back to grab my laundry cart, twisted the wrong way, and proceeded to belt out a string on obscenities that would make Denis Leary blush.  After a lot of intense pain, doctors appointments, and an emergency room visit, I basically spent the better part of the last four weeks in a drug induced haze trying to numb the pain and heal.

While my lower back muscles have finally healed, I am still suffering from nerve pain in my left leg, which has been diagnosed as a bulging disk.  The disks in your spine act as cushions between your vertebrae.  A bulging disk means that the disk is extending outside of the space it normally would.  That “bulge” is pressing on my sciatic nerve, causing pain in my left leg from my hip to my ankle.

While I am still in pain, the pain is not nearly as bad as it was earlier on.  I’m off the hard drugs now, I’m walking (sometimes with the assistance of a cane—it depends on how far I have to go), and I’m back at work (part-time working from home, part-time working in the office).  I’ve just started physiotherapy, which I’ll blog about a little, and on Wednesday I’m going to try acupuncture for the first time, which I’ll blog about as well.  I’m equal parts nervous and excited about the acupuncture, and really just interested to see what kind of results I get.  Hey, at this point, I’ve got nothing to lose!

Needless to say, not much has been going on in the way of healthy living.  It’s hard to want to eat healthy when all you want is comfort and when you can barely walk, let alone exercise, it’s pretty frustrating.  Too much take out and comfort food has definitely been my downfall.  I was beating myself up about it for a while there, but in the end I found it wasn’t doing much good.  It only added to the stress of being injured and making me more angry at myself.  To say I’ve been harbouring a bit of anger is probably an understatement.  I thought coming back to blogging would help me work through some of that anger and help get me back up off the mat.  I may have been knocked down, but I’m not out.

Happy Labour Day everyone…here’s to the start of September, and a fabulous fall season (I love autumn, I’m so excited!!).