Staying Encouraged Through Injuries, Pain, and Surgery

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At some point in our lives, we all deal with significant pain, an injury, or even surgery.  We can try everything in our power to avoid these situations, but sometimes they are just a part of our journey no matter how careful we are.  However, no matter what situations arise, we get to choose to make the best of whatever comes our way or to wallow in our misery! The choice is always ours to make.  And while you might not feel very positive at the moment, I’m here to tell you that being positive and proactive is always a better alternative to feeling sorry for ourselves and giving up.  Pain and injuries will come and go, but how we handle it all is what can make or break our recovery and progress!

I’m not saying that you don’t have every right to feel upset and even angry about your situation.  Being injured and in pain is frustrating! It can feel like you will never get back to where you were or be able to do the things you want to do again.  While those feelings are valid, there isn’t a lot of truth to them.  You might have to change things for a while, but there are so many things you can do to help stay on track while recovering that will help you get back to where you were before.  As someone who has been through countless injuries and surgeries, I’m here to share some of the things that have helped keep me going when giving up felt like it might be easier!

 Find Support from Others

It doesn’t matter who the support comes from or if it’s from one person or a whole community, but you will need support.  On those days when you feel lost, frustrated, and angry, these are the people who you will reach out to. These are the people who will help you remember why you continue to do what you can do.  Be open and honest with your support people!  We all need to vent our frustrations, but I’m also 100% sure they will not only listen, but will have some amazing advice to give to you as you work through your injuries.

Stick to Your Nutrition Plan

Nutrition is always #1!  While it is devastating to not be able to workout in the ways we love, we have the power to maintain control over our nutrition and ultimately our health.  Just because we can’t give 100% in our workouts doesn’t mean we should give up on our nutrition too.  We can make great strides with nutrition alone and we must remember that it isn’t about being perfect in all things.  Sticking to your nutrition plan allows you to remain in control of your health.  It will also greatly benefit your recovery if you eat well and keep your water intake high.  The more we can do to aid in recovery, the sooner we will be back to those workouts we love.

See a Doctor/Start Physical Therapy As Needed

So often we push off seeing a doctor or getting physical therapy for injuries.  We think we can push through the pain and get better on our own, but sometimes pushing through pain causes more damage in the long run.  While some injuries are minor and just require some extra rest, other injuries require professionals to help us fully recover and prevent reinjury.  Figuring out exactly what is going on and working with your medical team is going to provide you with the best possible outcome and timeline for getting back to the things you love.  If you are injured and things aren’t getting better with rest, please consider seeing someone to help you.  There is a difference between pain and discomfort.  NEVER push through pain!

Practical tips for dealing with an injury.

Be Knowledgeable

Learn all you can about your injury and ask questions!  The more you know about what is going on and the more you can do at home to help with recovery, the better off you will be.  Don’t just blindly follow the advice of random people you don’t know on the internet.  Speak with professionals and do your own research!  

Keep Going to the Gym/Working Out

Unless you have strict orders from your doctor, do NOT quit moving!  When we get injured our first thoughts are usually about how we will have to quit working out.  For the majority of injuries, this just isn’t the case.  There are always ways in which you can modify or work on other body parts while injured!  Can’t do shoulders for a while, then focus on building that leg strength.  Can’t bend your right knee, then work on upper body or single leg exercises.  You might not be lifting weights after surgery for a while, but even after surgery they encourage you to get up and walk around and start physical therapy right away.  Movement is great for our mental health as well.  Just going to the gym, moving how we can, and being surrounded by those people who motivate and encourage us can do wonders!

Be Patient & Give Yourself Ample Time to Recover

This is by far the hardest one! We MUST give ourselves time to recover and we MUST be patient with the process.  Unfortunately, it usually takes much longer than we want it to.  However, by doing what we are asked to do and being patient throughout the process, we will end up stronger and more confident than before.  By attempting to rush things, we are only hurting ourselves and will likely be looking at reinjury in the future.

It’s Okay to Be Scared

It can be incredibly difficult getting fully back into the gym after an injury.  We often hold onto the fear of it happening again and worry that we will never get back to where we used to be.  It’s normal to be afraid of reinjury and it’s actually good to be aware that reinjury is always a possibility.  This fear can help us to make choices that will keep us safe and help us take things slow as we get back to it.  Patience again comes into play as we work back up to feeling comfortable with movements.  Slow and steady is key!

Stretch, Stretch, Stretch

Please, please, please STRETCH!!  I don’t care if you’re 20 or 80, STRETCH.  Our bodies need to be put through different ranges of motion and we shouldn’t be blindly jumping into lifting super heavy the second we step in the gym.  Not enough of us take the time to warm-up and stretch and we need to.  Stretching can help prevent many injuries so do what you can to be proactive and stay injury free.

 Make a Goal Around Something You Can Do

We thrive when we have goals we can work towards!  I am going to encourage you to create at least one goal around something you are able to do.  For the past year I have been dealing with a shoulder injury so I made a goal to hip thrust 400 lbs.  I then laid out what I would do to help me achieve that goal.  While I was bummed about not being able to use my shoulder, I gave myself something else to focus on in the meantime.  It gave me purpose in the gym again and made me feel accomplished!  I truly believe this goal setting is a huge must for everyone!

If You Need Surgery…

Just breathe!  It will be okay!  Sometimes tears will be too severe.  Sometimes genetics will play a part.  Sometimes there is no choice, but to have the surgery.  Being someone who has been through it before and who is going through it again, I can tell you that it will be alright.  It won’t be fun!  There will be pain and swelling.  The scale will likely go up 10-15 lbs.  Sleep will be rough.  And you will likely feel like the road to recovery is neverending.  But it will end and you will make it through!  Just take one day at a time, move when you can, drink your water, eat to fuel your recovery, and be patient with yourself.

Just remember that recovery takes time! For many injuries, you can bounce back quickly and will likely have no issues doing what you have done before. However, for some injuries the road to recovery may be very long and you may need surgery.  No matter what type of injury you have, you can use the tips above to help get you through.  Above all else, remember to give yourself grace as you navigate through injury!  Believe in yourself like we here at Stay Fit Mom believe in you!

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